Inspired by Ossau Iraty, a classic sheep’s milk cheese from the French Basque country, this is a Wisconsin-made, hearty-yet-munchable cheese. Expect sweet aromas, mild hits of salt and a bright, clean finish.
Anabasque is made in Wisconsin at Landmark Creamery, which is run by a pair of Annas: Anna Landmark and Anna Thomas Bates. “This either makes things very confusing, or very simple,” they say. After meeting at a potluck for Green Country Women in Sustainable Agriculture in 2012, Landmark (who’d had a small sheep and goat farm) and Thomas Bates (a food writer) decided to form a partnership. Landmark is in charge of cheesemaking, while Thomas-Bates is in charge of sales.
The Annas currently partner with two dairies to source milk, using space rented at Clock Shadow Creamery to produce their cheese. Sheep’s milk is sourced from Sam and Abe Enloe, a team of brothers in Rewey, Wisconsin. Cow’s milk is sourced from Bert Paris in Belleville, Wisconsin.
Some wheels of Anabasque are cave-aged at Landmark Creamery for at least three months, while others are sent to one of Standard Market’s three aging caves in Illinois for ten months of maturation, which includes repeated washings with a light Brevibacterium linens solution that gives it an orangey tint over time.
Pair it with fruity red wines, hard cider and Marcona almonds, or melt it into a butternut squash risotto. Head Cheesemonger Alyssa Stone of Standard Market says that recent Illinois cave-aged versions yield notes of strawberries, making for a delicious accompaniment to fresh figs.