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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

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
Dec 07, 2013
Cheese board -- Brillat-Savarin, Idiazabal, fig jam and Big Bee honey pic.twitter.com/O3VJ6UkaDg
Dec 05, 2013
all in a days work - tasting the new cheese - st. angel, normanville, truffo, keen's cheddar, idiazabal. #lovecheese pic.twitter.com/VUPwXgNH4h
Nov 21, 2013
Everyone, Idiazabal is back! Come try this tasty smoky cheese pic.twitter.com/0t5k5udv3f
Nov 15, 2013
Our #Idiazabal nat cheese PDO x Churchill's @port_house World Cheese Awards '11 '12 '13 Raw ewe Latxa milk cured 3m pic.twitter.com/itaPL0UdQV
Oct 29, 2013
Our Spanish artisan cheese board for a Churchill's London Port House #Cabrales #Montanera #Idiazabal #Zamorano pic.twitter.com/3vr32yBV6d
Oct 17, 2013
Cheese Course! @stbcbeer @G2B_restaurant Oak Aged Unearthly w/ smoked Idiazabal and pear ginger jam pic.twitter.com/kacALDbekc
Oct 01, 2013
@SandiMcKenna You'll love these turnip croquettes with Idiazabal cheese and pimiento dipping sauce. #foodiechats pic.twitter.com/5FmYxwHPxp
Sep 12, 2013
Kale Salad w/ honey crisp apples,roasted spaghetti squash,toasted hazelnuts & idiazabal cheese-that's a super salad! pic.twitter.com/uI6HxJxBS8
Sep 12, 2013
Kale salad w/ honey crisp apples,roasted spaghetti squash, roasted hazelnuts & idiazabal cheese-truly a super salad! pic.twitter.com/E3eNu0UuXN
Sep 06, 2013
Idiazabal is to Basque as Manchego is to ________? You don't know! Just eat it! #5DollarFriday #redbank #cheese pic.twitter.com/eA9qJStML3
 
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