To many, the word tetilla suggests thick, smooth, buttery cheese, but literally, it means “nipple.” All across the northwestern region around Galicia, Spain, dairy farmers produce this distinct treat. Spaniards named the Hershey’s Kiss–shaped cone for its small point on top. But shape isn’t tetilla’s only distinguishing characteristic. Galicians obtained protected designation of origin status (DOP) for this straw-colored snack in 1992, meaning if it’s not made in Galicia, it’s not tetilla.
Dairy farmers traditionally use whole milk from the Rubia Gallega (“Blonde Galician”) cow to make the cheese. Known for their low yields of high-quality milk, these cows require several milking sessions before farmers can fashion the fresh cheese. Depending on the maker’s preference, tetilla can be aged for varied lengths of time to create desired firmness and flavor. Fans describe the finished product as clean and mellow, with a melty, almost pasty texture. Spaniards serve thick, smooth slices with quince paste, crackers, local white wines, and crusty bread. Tetilla also makes the occasional appearance in baked dishes.