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Queso Idiazabal

Spanish D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) standards rule that this Basque country favorite must be made with the raw milk of Laxta and Carranza sheep, lightly pressed and aged for 2-10 months. Smoking is an optional touch, reflecting a history of hanging wheels near a fireplace to dry. Ours is lightly smoked, and aged only 2-3 months. We like the supple, toothsome texture at this point and the subtle sharpness before it becomes hot with more age. The special sheep give exceptionally rich, fatty milk, resulting in a buttery mouth-feel and an intriguing gamy character. Best enjoyed hearthside with a mug of hard cider or a fruity Spanish red.

Just the facts

Country Spain
Region Alava
Milk Type Sheep
Pasteurization Unpasteurized
Rennet Type Animal
Age 3 months
Cheese Type Smoked and Flavored
Wheel Weight 7 pounds
Pairing Recommendations

Pour a glass of...

  • Farmhouse Ales

    Farmhouse, Saison, Bière de Garde, Lambic, Sour Beer

    Farmhouse ales, instead of being driven by malt or hops, depend on the yeast for their distinctive spicy, floral, and tart flavors. Commonly made by brewers in France and Belgium, farmhouse ales are usually light in color and body and quite effervescent. From time to time, brewers allow wild yeasts to ferment the beer, resulting in a brew that falls somewhere in between pleasantly bright to bracingly sour.
    Pair with: Mushroomy Brie Fermier or funky, bacony Epoisses are matches made in heaven.

  • Tempranillo

    Medium-bodied with flavors of cherry, as well as some cranberry which lends bright acidity. Cinnamon and clove spices, and earthy, leathery flavors balance things out.
    Pair with: Sheep’s milk cheese like Malvarosa or Pyrenees Brebis, flavored cheese (truffles, herbs, or spices), and younger leaf-wrapped cheeses with some funk – think Robiola Foglie de Fico.

Queso Idiazabal zoom

Makes a great cheese plate with...