This handmade, unpasteurized sheep’s milk cheese is naturally smoked with a hard but edible orange-brown rind. Its perfumy bouquet, and rich, buttery flavor. Idiazabal is one of Spain’s greatest cheeses.
Idiazábal is a wonderful alternative to the better-known Manchego. The rind is golden brown and the paste firm and pale yellow, often dotted with small holes. It has a warm, smoked, nutty aroma and the texture is dry and grainy at first, becoming smoother as it is warmed in the mouth. Rich and complex in flavor, it tastes of nuts, smoke and sheep. Idiazábal can be served with fruit or melted over rice and potatoes. It also goes well with grilled or barbecued pork and other meats, and can be eaten as a snack with fresh, crusty bread or grated. The cheese pairs well with any red wines from the Navarre region or with Sherry.