• Ossau Iraty

     

    This cheese board includes: tumalo farm's tome, fiscalini's cheddar, ossau-iraty, maytag blue, red onion marmalade, palladin toast. Photo credit: Arnold Gatilao

    This cheese board includes: tumalo farm’s tome, fiscalini’s cheddar, ossau-iraty, maytag blue, red onion marmalade, palladin toast.
    Photo credit: Arnold Gatilao

    This cheese from the Basque Country and the Béarn province takes its name from two places. The first is the Ossau Valley and the second is the Iraty forest. It is a an uncooked, pressed cheese made from sheep’s milk. The manufacture of this cheese is often artisanal, often made in a cottage. This cheese holds the AOC (Appelallation Origin Controlée) designation. Ossau Iraty cheese comes in 4 to 5 kg and 2 to 3 kg wheels. It is not uncommon to even find wheels of 7 kg. The manufacturing is done in winter, in spring and even during the summer. After a maturing period of at least 3 months in the cellar at a constant temperature (12 degrees Celsius), Ossau Iraty is ready for consumption.  The outside appearance   has a pink and grayish crust. The interior is a compact paste without holes. Ossau Iraty has a nutty lactic taste. In 2011 during a cheese contest held in England, Ossau Iraty raw milk cheese received the Global award for best raw milk cheese and the prize for the best French cheese. The best time of tasting is from June to November. Ossau Iraty accommodates a thousand culinary options: shavings on a ratatouille, on eggplant stuffed with Basque ham, for example. It may also accompany a black cherry chutney.

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