Istara Family of Cheeses – Part Two – P’Tit Basque
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Made From Raw Milk
Istara’s P’Tit Basque is a new addition to The Lady’s cheese kiosk and her customers love it!!
As the name suggests, this is a small-sized cheese weighing about one and a quarter pounds and standing about three inches high. It has the basket weave rind similar to Manchego and Iberico (the basket weave comes from the impressions left by the baskets used to drain the curds of these cheeses). This is about all it shares in common with those cheeses other than all three are also made from sheep milk.
This cheese may be small in stature, but it’s a terrific cheese. It is sweet and salty and pleasant on the tongue. As it melts it leaves a nice after taste. P’tit Basque is aged only about seventy days. It has a more yellow paste and lacks the complexity of its older, more mature “cousins”. It might be thought of as a “gateway” cheese…to introduce you to sheep cheese before graduating to the more flavorful and sheepy Manchego or Iberico.
Before shipping it is coated with a thin plastic film to keep the moisture in the cheese. Due to its size, it would dry out more rapidly than its larger cousins. The Lady has mentioned that wheels she uses for display become lighter in weight over time…her guess is that a bit of moisture is lost. As a result of this discovery, she rotates her display wheels more frequently than she did in the past.
The farmers that make this cheese enjoy serving it with a black cherry preserve. The Lady loves cherries and enjoys most anything served with black cherry preserves. This cheese is no exception.
Bit of trivia: Because of the mountainous terrain of the Basque country, bikes are the preferred mode of transportation. As a result, the Basque area has become famous for the Orbea bike which is a favored bicycle in the Tour de France competition…who knew…who cares???
I give P’tit Basque 3 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving suggestions: Try this cheese with a pate of suricata Suricata suricattaschmeared on top and add some of those black cheery preserves…yummy…ok, I don’t really care about the cherries and suricata Suricata suricatta can be schmeared on just about anything this feline foodie eats…
Wine Pairings: Bordeaux, Amontillado, Chateauneuf de Pape
Beer Pairings: Amber ales, Pilsner
Source: Sheep’s Milk