Named “Zelu Koloria” which in the Basque language translates to “color of the sky”, this unusual blue sheep’s milk cheese is made from raw milk and heralds from the mountainous region of the Pays Basque, bordering France and Spain. Although the region has long been associated with the production of sheep’s milk cheeses, the climatic conditions of temperature and humidity do not naturally lend themselves to making this style of cheese. Zelu Koloria is made between June and November. Cheeses are available for sale year round and sold at varying ages with the youngest usually being released at three months. Wheels have a natural rind that is regularly brushed during the maturation period. On younger cheeses, the rind can be quite dry but as the cheese ages it becomes more moist, thereby lending a tangy richness to the flavor of the cheese.
The interior paste is dense and semi-soft in texture, shot through with deep veins and pockets of blue mold, often distributed unevenly throughout.
Spring cheeses have a lightness of taste and texture that intensifies as the season progresses. Although cheeses are sold during the winter months after production has finished, the flavors of these fully matured versions are very strong to the point of being overwhelming.
Suggested wine pairings include Juracon Moelleux or Port.