Flavour Profile: Complex, rich and satisfying, you’ll find a slightly floral and fruity flavour. The semi-firm cheese has notes of roasted nuts, fresh grass and wildflowers, and toasted wheat. Its texture and flavour changes with age: the younger cheeses are creamier, and the older have a subtle crunch from calcium crystals that’s sharper and saltier.
Drink pairing: Ossau-Iraty is brilliantly pairable. We like to choose a white wine or port, chilled and extra dry to pair perfectly with this buttery cheese. Our favourite? Quinta de la Rosa White Port from The Bergqvist Family estate in Portugal, which is a refreshingly-light, summery port.
About the Maker: It’s an ancient cheese made using traditional methods, where sheep graze high on mountain pastures in summer months before moving to lower regions as it turns colder. w The blend of different manufacturing methods of the milk from the two regions give Ossau-Iraty its unique taste. Ossau-Iraty is produced in two regions in the southwest of France along the Spanish border—in the Northern Basque Country’s Irati beech forest and in Bearn’s neighbouring Ossau Valley. The two places lie in the green rolling foothills of the Western Pyrenees, and they’re the namesake for the cheese.
How to enjoy: The younger Ossau-Iraty melts perfectly for brilliant cheese on toast. The older cheeses tend to be harder, sitting well on a cheese board with figs and cured meats, or even grated over salads, soups or stews.
Discover the rest of our Ewe’s milk cheeses here.