Etorki, meaning “origin” in the Basque language, is a sheep’s milk cheese made in the French Basque region of the Pyrénées. The pasteurised milk used to make this cheese is sourced from local black-faced or red-faced Manech ewes (adult female sheep referred to as ewe) herded by local shepherds and dairy farmers. It takes six gallons of ewe’s milk to produce one wheel of Etorki.
Cheesemaking in the Pyrenees region has been following a tradition that has remained unchanged for the last 4000 years. It requires the cheese to be pressed but not cooked and slowly matured for a period of three to six months.
Etorki has a rusty, bumpy rind because of the molds formed during pressing. The smooth, supple and velvety interior is white with occasional holes or slits. It has a sweet and earthy aroma suggestive of the caramel flavours released by the pressed and aged sheep’s milk.
Pair Etorki with chardonnay, riojas or traditional, sparkling white wines.