Why is the Cheese Green?

By Bobby Soileau, Ph.D., LSU AgLeadership Class XV Coordinator

It was a typical adventurous morning for our trip. A number of us were waiting on the hotel restaurant to open up for breakfast. Hotel Alfonso VI, in the beautiful city of Toledo, had an unusual breakfast, practically everything was cold. In fact, the scrambled eggs were cold. 

  An interesting item for breakfast greeted Class XV: green cheese.  Made from pistachio and cracked black pepper, once class members tasted it, it was quickly gone!

An interesting item for breakfast greeted Class XV: green cheese.  Made from pistachio and cracked black pepper, once class members tasted it, it was quickly gone!

But it was the green sliced cheese that caught my attention. This is the unique aspect of traveling internationally. The food can be adventurous too. My travels have taught me that practically anything is worth trying once, except the Jelly Fish in China. 

The cheese was very good. A number of people in our group – Neil Melancon (Class XII), Richard Cooper, Avery Davidson, Lance Gaudet and Ben Sanders from Class XV, tried it and agreed. 

Forgive the tangent, but I immediately thought about a George Carlin routine from the 1970s. He thought blue food could be the key to immortality. I found out that wasn’t true after eating blue Jello. But enough of my tangent, let’s get back to the trip.

After breakfast we traveled to Ruigan, a large beef cattle operation outside of Toledo with up to 7,000 head. We saw a combination of Charolais and Limousine with some cross breeding with Astoria. We met with one of the owners, Jesus Ruíz, who was very generous with his time and information. It’s a grain fed beef that is marketed locally and in other countries. 

Our visit to Ruigan was our only agricultural stop of the day. We traveled back to Madrid to catch the train to Malaga in the Andalusia region of Spain. The trains are a great way to travel in Europe. Our top speed was more than 186 mph. We will be in the Andalusia region for the bulk of our trip. Malaga will be our southern most destination, and our hotel is right on the Mediterranean Sea. 

Perhaps our hotel tomorrow morning will have green cheese. At least we probably know why it is green. According to Richard Cooper it is made with Pistachios. Our travel guide Jurgen Nolle agreed. He said it is a French style cheese.