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Idiazabal
Creative Commons/Ardo Beltz

Idiazabal

Idiazabal is a traditional, farmhouse, hard cheese made from raw milk of Latxa or Carranza sheep in the Basque and Navarra regions of northern Spain. Named after the village of Idiazabal, the cheese received Spanish D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) in 1987.

In summer, the sheep migrate to higher pastures to graze on the blossoming, new grass. During this time, the artisanal cheesemakers milk the sheep, make the cheese and leave it in the rafters to mature. At the end of summer when the cheesemakers return back to the lowlands with their sheep, the cheese has ripened and is ready for sale.

Idiazabal is produced in the shape of a cylinder, with a smooth and hard natural rind that is pale yellow to amber in color. The cheese has a compact texture, with a few pinprick holes. It is dry, but not crumbly, and feels pleasantly oily in the mouth. The rind carries the marks of the wooden moulds in which it was drained. The characteristic, smoky flavor is the result of the cheeses having been stored near the fireplaces. There were no chimneys in the simple mountain huts, so the cheeses absorbed the sweet, aromatic smoke. The taste of the cheese is reminiscent of burnt caramel and bacon. It pairs well with red wine and cider.

  • Made from sheep's milk
  • Country of origin: Spain
  • Region: Basque Country
  • Alternative spellings: Idiazabalgo gazta
  • Type: hard, artisan
  • Texture: open and supple
  • Rind: natural
  • Color: pale yellow

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Top photos from Twitter

Aug 14
@bravas_tapas version 1.0 of our idiazabal cheese and black truffle baskets...soon to be stuffed with yumminess. pic.twitter.com/NTYNWWzfdQ
Aug 13
A tasty first course: Serrano Ham, Idiazabal Cheese & Tomato Jam Toast pic.twitter.com/XeAEMrTd0U
Jul 20
Late lunch .. eggs, oregano, a drizzle of tasty @Oligiano evoo n shavings of Idiazabal cheese. #ImisstheBasquecountry pic.twitter.com/6PFMtgvTZE
Jul 13
"Melt in the mouth" foie with shavings of Idiazabal (smoked basque cheese) @milcatas Muy rico! pic.twitter.com/wNQ8e8hsnq
Jul 03
Looking for your perfect burger cheese for #fourthofjuly? Meet Idiazabal, a lightly smoked Basque sheep's milk. YUMMM pic.twitter.com/7xgNvNbRZm
Jun 13
Leave it to the Basques to invent Idiazabal cheese-flavored ice cream. At least I didn't get the bacalao al pil-pil. pic.twitter.com/lBteXrxeBA
Jun 04
A reason to celebrate – its National Cheese Day! Try our Serrano Ham, Idiazabal Cheese, and Tomato Jam Toast plate! pic.twitter.com/5GpJXOdQBT
Feb 28
Beet Green + Goat Cheese Ravioli lamb ragu, Idiazabal cheese Course 5 Chef Tasting @PumpkinPhilly pic.twitter.com/fa8jRrCcKe
Feb 23
getting ready for Wednesday night. Tapas, wine and of course cheese - 7pm. Idiazabal ice cream anyone? pic.twitter.com/meCF6PQ47w
Jan 25
Heirloom Beets, Local Apple, Arugula, Idiazabal Cheese and Hazelnut. Delicious. pic.twitter.com/OYq4K3XgXd
Jan 17
Braised Duck Ragout: sweet potato gnocchi, shiitake, golden raisins, idiazabal cheese and baharat! pic.twitter.com/bupWe2kLjL
Jan 17
Homemade Mediterranean Fast-food. Hamburger with, mushroom, Idiazabal cheese and and iberian ham. pic.twitter.com/dhHMBBfuhC
Dec 13, 2013
Piquillo Rellenos with idiazabal cheese, caramelized onions and grilled bread. pic.twitter.com/bqx05UOC5d
 
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