If you’re familiar with Spanish membrillo, the quince jelly that’s often served alongside that country’s salty sheep’s milk cheeses, the Portuguese version will look identical. It's a pale orange jelly, firm but spreadable, made from cooked quinces, pictured at right. Yet while the main ingredient is the same in both country's versions, there are enough subtle differences in the local fruit, climate and preserving method to make Portuguese quince paste stand out. In many ways I prefer it. It’s less gritty and, to my taste, stays sweet longer when paired with cheese (side by side, I notice membrillo tastes a little bitter with some cheeses).
Typically served with ricotta in Portugal, I’ve also enjoyed it paired with French Mountain Cheese. Made to the same recipe since the 1800s at the Cadeira monastery.
When sealed, will last for months in the refrigerator. When you slice into this spread, it has a dense, jelly-like consistency. It holds its shape very well, but it's also easy to spread.