Ossau Iraty Fighting for Cheese…
- Producer - Onetik
- Origin - France
- Milk Type - Sheep
- Aging - 6 months
Basque – a region of militant nationalism, questionable modernist architecture and a language that looks more Greek than either French or Spanish. So what are they all getting their knickers in a twist over? Well, it could be this cheese for one.
Amidst all the crazy modernism, in a small village at the foot of the Pyrenees mountain range, lies one of the world’s oldest cheese traditions, dating back a mere 4000 years or so. Pretty cool stuff.
Onetik takes its sheep’s milk from a Basque dairy co-operative, supporting over 150 sheep milk farmers from the remotest parts of the region, and in doing so helping to preserve its historic pasturelands and the generational shepherds of the steep slopes of the Pyrenees. We’d say that’s a tradition worth fighting for.
For starters this is more semi-hard than hard. No jokes please. Think Gruyere rather than Cheddar - unctuous and creamy, with the rich texture of a plump green olive (but without the briny taste!). The flavours are gentle – soft, buttery, nutty and grassy, all intensified with six months of ageing. And did we mention how beautiful it looks?
OSSAU IRATY FACT OF THE DAY
To carry the name Ossau-Iraty only milk from local breeds of sheep (Manech and Basco-Bearnaise for those sheep whisperers out there) can be used in the production of this awesome, historic cheese. As a result it is officially recognised as one of the two most important French sheep’s cheeses – the other? Roquefort.
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