Saturday, September 10, 2011

Product Review: Istara P'tit Basque Cheese

When I asked the cheesemongers at Harmons what a good cheese would be to try as an introduction to sheep cheeses [1], they both tripped over each other trying to recommend the P'tit Basque. Based on the name, I would've guessed that it was made in the Basque Country of Spain. But this cheese is produced in the Pyrenees Mountains of France.[2] So I did a little digging and learned that Basque Country actually includes parts of both Spain and France.[3] And the Pyrenees run right through it, so that must be where this cheese is made.

My verdict: The P'tit Basque tasted a lot like Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.[4] In fact, I'm not sure there was any difference at all (though Kerrygold insists that their Dubliner cheese is made from cows' milk [5]). So, like that one, this cheese has a bit of a tang to it and it pairs nicely with fruit. Unlike the Dubliner cheese, though, the P'tit Basque has an inedible rind that must be removed before eating the cheese.[5]


[1] Up to this point the only sheep cheese I'd tried was Myzithra (see my review here), which I wasn't terribly fond of. (However, I'm told that it's good grated over pasta.)

[2] See

[3] See Country (greater region).

[4] You can read my review of that cheese here.

[5] See (but perhaps sheep milk is one of the secret ingredients).

[6] Or you can just carve the cheese out, leaving the rind behind, like I did.

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