Mahón is named after the port on the island of Menorca, where the cheese is made. It is made from cow’s milk and as it matures, the rind is washed in paprika, producing the characteristic orange colour.
The cheese ranges from soft to hard with a buttery, salty taste. Much is produced industrially, but it is possible to find farmhouse cheeses, which tend to have a subtler colouring to the rind. Artesanal is softer and milder and aged for two to three months, whilst reserva, aged for up to ten months, is harder in texture with a saltier flavour.
It may be eaten on its own, traditionally sprinkled with olive oil, black pepper and tarragon, but it is also frequently used in cooking, especially grated over pasta and rice dishes.