Our Idiazábal cheese is from the original producer and is still produced by the same family in the heart of Basque Country. A smoked unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese aged 8 months, it gets a deep but subtle flavor from being smoked with hawthorn and cherry wood.
Traditionally Basque shepherds would keep their flocks high in the Pyrenees Mountains throughout the spring and summer. In the early autumn, right after the first snows, the shepherds would appear in the villages below carrying with them the cheeses they made from the ewe’s milk all summer long.
In order to preserve the cheeses in the highlands they stored them by the chimneys of their mountain shelters, where they aged and naturally smoked.
This D. O. controlled raw sheep’s milk cheese is hardwood smoked, coloring the outer rind from orange to a nutty brown. The smoke gently permeates the pale beige interior. As it ages, the flavor becomes a little sharper, and can be grated.
Idiazábal goes beautifully with fresh fruits, ham, salchichón and crusty bread and pairs well with a hearty red wine. It can keep in your refrigerator for a month or more. Store in foil or waxed paper, so that your cheese can continue to breathe.