Idiazábal, a Gourmet Cheese of Spain

Idiazábal cheese is a favorite of gourmet cheese lovers worldwide. It is from Spain’s Basque Country and Navarre regions. Idiazábal is a dense, savory yet nuanced cheese that can only be produced using milk from certain mountain sheep breeds, specifically Latxa and Carranzana. Idiazábal cheese might be smoked or not, depending on the location of production.

Since 1987, Idiazábal cheese has been protected by the D.O, (denominacion de origen), and its matching insignia helps us to identify it. It has a smooth, firm rind and flat, cylindrical shape. Idiazábal cheese is uniformly colored, ranging from pale yellow to yellowish. It could have uneven holes that are sporadically spaced apart. Idiazábal may have a slightly smokey, milky scent that suggests smoking. It tastes balanced in the mouth, with notes of natural rennet and mature milk. Idiazábal cheese also has a modest saltiness and a hint of spice.

To manufacture one kilogram of Idiazábal cheese, seven liters of raw, unpasteurized sheep’s milk are required. The milk is made coagulant with animal rennet. Its production is seasonal, based on the sheep’s biological cycles. The months of March through June are when milk production peaks.

This Idiazábal cheese is available in the market in wedges or full pieces. Idiazábal cheese pairs well with a number of Spanish regioinal wines. Its high calcium content is helpful in fighting osteoporosis. Additionally, because it contains few carbohydrates, it increases saliva production, which helps to guard against tooth cavities. Contact us to include Spanish Idiazábal cheese or other gourmet cheeses in your private tailor-made luxury tour of Spain.