Istara P’Tit Basque

So I had remembered reading on another blog about the basket weave rind on Machengo, and it was in the back of my mind when I saw this cheese, so I figured I’d try it out.
This is a raw sheep’s milk cheese from the Basque region of France, close to Spain. The P’Tit part comes from it’s small stature. Back in the day, shepherds made this small cheese from the curds left over after they milked the lady sheep. (yes, ewe.)

The texture on the rind is from the impressions left by the baskets used to drain the curds. Peep it in the pic below:

The texture of this stuff is great. It’s not nearly as hard as most sheep’s milk cheese. It’s firm, but not soft, similar to a brick of standard cheddar. Taste wise, it’s actually fairly mellow for a sheep cheese. Maybe because it’s only aged for 70 days. But the flavor is great. I could see this being a stepping stone to some of the super ripe sheep stuff. The flavor is a mild grassy taste. And though the texture is creamy as you maw it, it has a killer dry and salty finish that hangs out in your mouth for a while after. This would be great with some kind of richer red wine (maybe something from Spain?) while sitting on your couch trying to seduce your new beau. It’s not to forward, but it sets the mood, like the first 3 songs on your make-out playlist. And that dry salty finish is not too overpowering or creamy while swapping spit.

The farmers that make this cheese enjoy serving it with a black cherry preserve. I enjoy just shoving it in my mouth. We are both winners.

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About Ziggy Smallz

I rarely commit to anything, especially blogging. That is, except eating. I like to constantly taste new things. Whether it's a Bangkok back alley soup stand, or some weird veggie I pickled myself, I want to eat it. Except eggplant, because I'm strangely allergic to it.
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