- French Cheeses
- Quality of cheese
- The French way of life
Ossau-Iraty is a ewe’s milk cheese traditionally manufactured in the Basque Country and Béarn. Since time immemorial, Manech and Basco-Béarnaises sheep have been raised in this verdant and often rainy area, and their milk has been used to make a typically small-scale cheese.
Today in the “cujalas” of the Béarn or the “cayolars” of the Basque country, in farms and in dairy workshops, the manufacture of Ossau-Iraty has remained artisanal.
This uncooked pressed cheese is made with whole ewe’s milk, and can be made on the farm or in a dairy workshop. The cheese has had a registered designation of origin (AOC) since 1980 and a protected designation of origin (AOP) since 1996.
Ossau-Iraty is available in two formats: the small size weighs between 4.4 and 6.6 lbs and the large size weighs between 8.8 and 15.4 lbs. The minimum maturation period varies from 80 to 120 days.
The cheese is traditionally enjoyed with Itxassou black cherry jam.
This cylindrical cheese has a rind of a yellowish-orange to gray color.
The rind smells very musty, but the paste has a much milder aroma. The flavor is delicate and the taste is exquisitely fragrant with hazelnut and ewe’s cheese notes.