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.
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