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Milk: Sheep, Pasteurized

Country: France, Basque Country

Texture: Firm

Accompaniment: Medium reds and dry whites

 This wonderful sheep’s milk cheese is a relative newcomer to more than 4000 years of ewe’s milk cheese making in the southwestern part of France. In the Basque language “Etorki” means “origin” or “source”, referring to the fact that the recipe for the cheese comes from a long lineage of sheep’s cheese makers.

The milk is derived from native, local, black- or red-faced Manech ewes that produce a very rich milk, ideal for cheese making. The cheese is made with milk derived from sheep eating hay or grazing in fields at lower altitudes. After July when the transhumance takes the flocks higher up the mountain, the milk is used to make true mountain cheeses. It takes around 6 gallons of milk to produce a wheel of Etorki.

The cheese has a smooth, supple paste which is of an ivory color. The cheese exhumes earthy, almost sweet aromas. The flavor is definitely rich and sweet with nutty and caramelly overtones.

Etorki is an ideal cheese for tapas, so try it with some dried meats, olives and fruits.

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