Idiazabal (also known as Idiazabel / Queso Idiazabal La Vasco Navarra) 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 cheese makers milk the sheep, make the cheese and leave it in the rafters to mature for a minimum ripening of 2 months. At the end of summer when the cheese makers return back to the lowlands with their sheep, the cheese has ripened and is ready for sale.
PDO Idiazabal smoked cheese has won a Super Gold medal at the 2014 World Cheese Awards. It is declared as one of the world's 62 best cheeses. It is also available in natural flavour.
Country of origin: Spain
Region, town: Basque Country
Source of milk: Unpasteurized Sheep's milk
Texture: compact, oily, open and supple
Flavour: buttery, nutty, smokey, smokey and sweet
Aging time: 6 - 12 months
Serving suggestion: Enjoy Idiazábal include serving it on toasted bread, over salted crackers or grated in salads. Regardless of how you serve Idiazábal, you’re sure to be pleased and delighted by it.
Drink Pairing: Best enjoyed hearthside with a mug of hard cider or a fruity Spanish red.