It’s hard to learn about cheese and not hear about the Basque region, but Spain (where most of the region is located) usually gets most of the credit for its food exports. Luckily, the folks at Formaggio Kitchen have documented all the fabulous things coming out of the tiny corner that is the French Basque region. Between nutty Brebis, tart cherry jam, and dry red wine, we’re having trouble not booking a trip there right now.
A trip through the French Basque country is one of distinct sights, scents, and flavors. Rolling hills of green pastures are punctuated by craggy mountain peaks and deep valleys, and sheep are everywhere! When Ihsan, Valerie and I traveled through the area in the fall, we tasted a huge array of sheep milk cheeses and an assortment of intense but beautiful wines. Here, we’re featuring a few of our favorite tastes: Ardi Gasnas from Fromagerie Pardou and Ekiola, and a killer red wine from Domaine Ilarria of Irouléguy. Ardi Gasna (or gazna) is Basque for “sheep cheese,” and these smooth, rich sheep cheeses are a specialty in the Pyrénées mountains.
Photo by Julie Cappellano