Spanish Cheese Idiazabal
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Spanish Cheese Idiazabal

Idiazábal Cheese is made in the Basque Country and Navarre (except municipalities of the Roncal Valley) using milk from sheeps of Latxa and Carranzana breeds. The rennet used in its elaboration is of animal origin and the cheese can be smoked or unsmoked, with a high fat content and acidity.

Cheese Idiazábal, being more or less salty, has a pungent flavor of rennet and smoke that is exquisite to the palate. Idiazábal is a fatty cheese, with a minimum maturity of sixty days, and weights between 1 and 3 kg each. It is a pressed and uncooked cheese and is considered part of the European culinary heritage.

The history of Cheese Idiazábal begins on October 1, 1987 when the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food confirms the origin of Idiazábal’s. More than 500 cattle farms and 100 dairies belong in this denomination, most of which produce cheese with milk from their own farm exclusively.

The name Idiazábal was chosen for being well known, and clearly identified as Basque. It comes from the sheep cheeses that herders brought to the city market when the summer ended in the fields and pastures of Aralar and Urbia. Both the production of milk and the elaboration of cheese occurs within the Basque Country and Navarre (exception made of the Roncal Valley area, which has its own designation of origin).

The Designation of Origin 'Idiazábal' and its Regulatory Board was approved by Order of November 30, 1993 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. It has also been registered as a PDO in the Community Register of Protected Designations of Origin and Protected Geographical Indications by the Commission Regulatory Board. Every year the combined milk production from all farms reaches about 7,000,000 liters, which makes for more than 1,000 tonnes of cheese.

The flavor of the Idiazábal cheese is well developed, dire, slightly spicy and acidic. Of balanced salt content, with a fatty taste due to the sheep milk, and smoked as it might be, the Idiazábal cheese is meant for a direct and daily consumption, both in tapas or as dessert accompanied by dried fruits. Its smoky and fatty touch is ideal for stuffing or bread, for example blue fish or white meats.
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