Sunday, June 17, 2012

Portuguese Cheese, Portugal

Been a long while since Ive participated in Viridian's Sunday stamps, but here I am back again...with something least for me :)
I totally love cheese, both white and yellow ones. It is not like the healthiest food on Earth but it can be very delicious! Too bad there are not really Macedonian cheese stamps, coz the Macedonian cheese is just luscious! Yum yum yumm!

I received this AWESOME from Sam, who unfortunately has disappeared. I hope he is ok, and if anyone has any news, please share.
The cover contains all the 5 stamps issues in this set, as well as the souvenir sheet.

Both the s/s and the €0,32 stamp on the top left depict cheese produced in the Serra de Estrela mountain range in Portugal.
It is made of pure, raw sheep’s milk, of the Bordaleira race, Serra da Estrela variety, curdled with cardoon, aged between 30 to 45 days (for the soft cheese).
Cylindrical shape, about 6 cm high and 15 in diameter and weighing between 300 and 1 500 g.
Ivory coloured paste, soft, creamy, “blind” or with a few small holes, exquisite flavour, slightly acidulated. The legally defined area of production, which better opinions considered to be excessive, covers the municipalities of Carregal do Sal, Celorico da Beira, Fornos de Algodres, Gouveia, Mangualde, Manteigas, Nelas, Oliveira do Hospital, Penalva do Castelo and Seia, and a few administrative parishes in the municipalities of Aguiar da Beira, Arganil, Covilhã, Guarda, Tábua, Tondela, Trancoso and Viseu, in the centre-north of Portugal.
This one seems sooo creamy, it is driving me insane!

The €0,32 stamp at the right bottom part depicts the Rabaçal Cheese.
This one is made from sheep’s and goat’s milk, in the ideal proportion of 75% of the first to 25% of the second, raw, curdled with animal rennet, it is aged for at least three weeks. Cylindrical shape, about 5 cm high and 12 cm in diameter, it weighs between 300 and 500 g. Whitish-unpolished paste, semi-hard, with little or no holes, it has a particular flavour. The production area is mostly concentrated in the old village of Rabaçal (Penela municipality, Coimbra district) and a few neighbouring villages. The certificate that instituted the POD includes the municipalities of Alvaiázere, Ansião, Condeixa-a-Nova, Penela, Pombal and Soure, in the centre of Portugal.

The €0,47 stamp depicts the Azeitão cheese.
It is made from the milk of the Bordaleira sheep race, sub-race Saloia (in present times from other imported races as well), raw, curdled with cardoon, three weeks normal aging time. Shaped as small cylinders – 5 cm high, 8 cm in diameter –, weighing in average between 250 to 300 g (smaller ones are now appearing on the market). Pale-yellow or whitish paste, soft, creamy, with a stronger milky taste than the Serra da Estrela cheese (from which it descends). The production area established by law stretches to the municipalities of Palmela, Sesimbra and Setúbal, in the Lisbon region.

The €0,68 stamp depicts the Cabra Transmontano cheese.
It is made from raw goat’s milk of the Serrana race, curdled with animal rennet, aged during two months at least. Cylindrical shape, 4 to 6 cm high and 12 to 15 cm in diameter, weighing between 600 and 900 g. Hard whitish “blind” paste that has the characteristic flavour of goat’s cheese and a light peppery touch. Produced in the municipalities of Âlfandega da Fé, Carrazeda de Ansiães, Freixo de Espada à Cinta, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Mirandela, Mogadouro, Torre de Moncorvo and Vila Flor (Bragança district), as well as Murça and Valpaços (Vila Real district), located in the north-east of Portugal.

And the last, €0,80 stamp, depicts the São Jorge Cheese.
It is made of raw cow’s milk curdled with animal rennet. Shaped as a sort of wheel-type big cylinder between 10 to 15 cm high, its diameter varies between 25 and 35 cm and its weight between 8 to 12 kg. Hard, straw-yellow paste with many tiny irregular holes, brittle, with an individual flavour and slightly spicy touch. Minimum aging three month. The production area is that of the whole Island of São Jorge, Azores

technical details regarding the stamps:
- Date of Issue: 21 June 2010
- Width:            40.0 mm
   Height:           30.6 mm
  Size of the s/s: 13cm x 10cm
- Perforations:   13 by 13
- Process:         Llithography

My favourite for now would definitely be the Serra de Estrela one. Whats yours?

hope you have a yummie Sunday! for more delicacies, take a peek at Viridian;s kitchen :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Purebred dogs, France

Just yesterday I realized that I have not yet posted something French here, despite having a number of stamps and covers from there....i should really reconsider the whole concept and how come i so much put forward some countries and sequentially totally neglect to start repairing that, here comes something extra beautiful coming from France! Im just in love with this sheet! (btw, yesterday the discussion has opened up again...what's the difference btw a mini and a souvenir sheet...and in which category this one belongs to....I would put it in the mini-sheet, but then again, it may be a souvenir sheet too...arghhhh...HELP!)

this beauty was sent by Eric, from whom I also stole some of the info regarding it.
He says that these stamps were probably issued to remember that French households have nearly 10 million pet dogs. 1,650,000 souvenir sheets (composed of 4 stamps) and 4.7 million of the "Labrador" stamps were for this occasion.
The four stamps on this sheet are depicting some breeds of dogs belonging to 4 of the 10 distinct groups, identified in the LOF and defined by the World Canine Organisation ("Fédération Cynologique Internationale" or FCI in French) : the Yorkshire (€ 0.95) for the group of Terriers, the Labrador Retriever (€ 0.58) for the group of retrievers, flushing and water dogs, the German Shepherd (€ 0.58) for the group of sheep dogs and the Poodle (€ 0.75) for the group of companion and toy dogs. The other breeds appearing in the margins of this sheet : Dalmatian, Golden retriever, Jack Russell and Bull Terrier.

the size of the Yorkshire and the German Shepherd is 30mm x 40mm, while of the Labrador and the Poodle, 40mm x 30mm, The perforation of all is 13x13.

Merci Beaucoup Eric!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Local Fruits, Barbados's been so long since I've uttered something here...I mean, I know I have neglected this blog much more than my postcards' one, but i didnt even grasp it's been more than 3 months....ouch ouch ouch =/

You know, when you get off-track with something, it feels a bit more difficult to get back ON track...and the more time goes by, the worse it gets instead being vice-versa...I really can't explain this phenomenon, but it seems to be applicable to other issues in life as well.
The other day I got down to scanning the bunch of stamps/covers I have received in the past months since all I've been doing was piling them up all over my desk and shelves, and one day I realized that I had no idea what I already have and what I don; as you all know it very well, procrastination will make your life just complicated :)

Anyways, let's see what I chose for today as a kick-off for the new beginning (posting for the first time after 3 months, does feel like a new beginning).

I got this beautiful cover as a surprise from Holger and his Barbados trip. It was a really nice and pleasant surprise for my mailbox since this is my first cover ever from Barbados.
Holger used 3 stamps which were issued on February 7th, 2011 in a set of  16...pretty lovely stamps, but I don't think these would ever manage to be contained as a whole set on one cover...even if it is an A4 envelope....
The stamps represent local fruits from Barbados and on this cover you have:

- at the left, the $1 stamp represents the Tamarind (Tamarindus indica))- this plant is indigenous to tropical Africa, where in the 16th century it was introduced to Mexico and South America (I guess that's how it reached Barbados). It reminds me of groundnuts a lot, though I can't tell if they taste the same, never ever tried Tamarind, though its use seems to be really wide.
This tree produces edible, pod-like fruit which are used extensively in cuisines around the world. It is a long-lived, medium-growth, bushy tree, which attains a maximum crown height of 12.1 to 18.3 metres.
The tamarind is best described as sweet and sour in taste, and is high in acid, sugar, B vitamins and, oddly for a fruit, calcium

- the 80c stamp shows Sea Grapes (Coccoloba uvifera)- this plant is native to coastal beaches throughout tropical America and the Caribbean, including southern Florida, the Bahamas, Barbados and Bermuda.
This plant is a sprawling evergreen shrub or small tree that reaches a maximum height of 8 m, but most specimens are little more than 2 m  tall. It has large, round, leathery leaves (up to 25 cm in diameter) with a primary vein that has a red color extending from the base, and the entire leaf turns red as it ages. The bark is smooth and yellowish. In late summer it bears green fruit, about 2 cm  diameter, in large grape-like clusters. The fruit gradually ripen to a purplish color. Each contains a large pit that constitutes most of the volume of the fruit

- the 40c stamp shows a Mammy Apple - this fruit is large and round weighing up to 7lbs. It has a thick light brown skin and its taste can be compared to that of a mango. Each tree can grow up to 75 feet and can yield 300 to 400 fruits. Powder made from mammey apple seeds can be used either as a dusting agant or in a solution as a spray

the size of stamps is 36x36 mm, while perforations are 13.25 by 13.25.