- Aged for 6 months and smoked with cherry wood
- Rich in fat and nutty, piquant flavor. Long aftertaste
- Strong raw sheep's milk cheese
- Produced in the Basque Country, Northern Spain.
V Navarra is a Latxa sheep's milk cheese, Idiazabal style, with the same intense smoked flavor. Both are always produced only with raw milk in the North of Spain: Basque Country and Navarra. The mountains there still have this lush vegetation, where sheep flocks can get first quality pastures.
Traditionally shepherds take the flocks to higher pastures during summertime, where the grass is fresh and abundant. It's during these months where cheese is made, it is a summer cheese. Shepherds store the cheese in their mountain huts, where get the smoky flavor from fireplaces. At the end of September, first October, when snow is about to come, shepherds and flocks return to the lower valleys and sell the cheese.
Since Idiazabal is more and more demanded, nowadays cheese makers recreate traditional techniques. After letting the cheese mature for 1 month, they smoke it with Hawthorne or cherry wood. This process gives Etxegarai and Idiazabal cheese their characteristic piquant and nutty flavor. This long aftertaste is delicious when paired with nuts and quince.
Unique in this world, with an unpasteurized and smoked flavor. Definitely a gourmet cheese. Red wines from the region enhance the experience of this pronounced sheepy finish.
You can keep it in your refrigerator for a month or more if you store it properly. Wrap it in aluminum or waxed paper to let it breathe.