Roncal (Erronkariko gazta in Basque) is a hard, creamy sheep's milk cheese. It is made in one of seven villages in the Valle de Roncal of Spain. Roncal enjoys PDO status.
Roncal easily crumbles when cut, and has a robust, slightly sharp flavor and a smooth texture. Each handmade half wheel has within it the secret of its artisan production.
The labor and customs have been handed down from parents to children for more than eight centuries. This raw milk sheep’s milk cheese is ripened slowly over the course of several months to develop a rustic, nutty and olive-like flavor and a moist, smooth texture.
The cheese comes from one of seven little villages nestled in the Roncal Valley of Navarra – deep in the Spanish Pyrenees. Medieval records dating back to the 13th century refer to this venerable cheese. The townspeople worked together to drive their herds to the high country in the spring. While the shepherds tended them, the ewes would be milked and Roncal cheeses would be formed and set aside to cure.
When autumn was on the horizon, the shepherds of the villages would lead their sheep back down to the protected valley, bringing to market the cheese they made. Hundreds of years later when their product became celebrated throughout Spain and even Europe, some people with foresight protected the integrity of their product by being very first to receive a D.O. in Spain. Denomination of Origin guarantees highest quality and traditional methods.