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hometown

Basque Country, France

Age

7 weeks

strength

2

hardness

3

milk type

Sheep's

vegetarian

No

pasteurised

No

One of only two AOC French Cheeses (the other being Roquefort), Ossau Iraty is a true French heavyweight, and probably the most famous non-blue sheep's milk cheese in France. Ossau Iraty is the definition of a 'smooth' cheese. It just slips down without even a flicker of sharpness or tanginess. It is a perfectly balanced combination of nutty caramel sweetness, and slight floral, honey fruitiness. What makes it even smoother is that it has more moisture than a comparable sheep's milk cheese (like Manchego for example, or Pecorino) so rather than being dry and slightly crumbly/chalky, instead it is supple, yielding and hugely satisfying to chew on. Interestingly, if you eat the rind, you will find it pushes the taste boat out way more, giving much more concentrated fermented fruit and richness.

tcg top tip: A true 'session cheese', Ossau Iraty pairs with many things but we particularly enjoy it with some cherry jam and a glass of Pinot Noir.