iStara

iStara Featured Cheeses


P'Tit Basque

Origin

Traditionally, shepherds made this small cheese from the leftover curd set aside after milking their ewes. Today Istara® P’tit Basque is still hand-made from pure ewe’s milk, using the same traditional methods established by local shepherds centuries ago. P’tit Basque boasts the dramatic heritage of the Basque region a land of deep valleys and steep mountains. It is a proud region between France and Spain where culinary tradition is very much alive.

Taste and texture

Made with 100% pure sheep’s milk, P’tit Basque is aged for a minimum of 70 days. The Spanish influence on this cheese is noted by its resemblance to Manchego, but its flavor is milder and more delicate. P’tit Basque has a distinctive aroma of sheep’s milk, and a smooth, sweet flavor with a nutty finish. Its creaminess is unique for a semi-hard cheese.

Wine and food pairing

While people of the Basque Region savor P’tit Basque with black cherry jam, it can also be enjoyed as an appetizer, as a snack with fruits, with grilled vegetables and cured meats, and even in salads.

This cheese perfectly matches with a classic Spanish wine such as Ribera del Duero, or even a richer California Cabernet or Sauvignon.


Ossau-Iraty

Origin

Ossau Iraty (oh-sow ee-RAH-tee) is the proud offspring of the French Basque Country and the nearby Béarn region. This undeniably successful cheese was granted PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) which shows its quality and excellence. This also guarantees the origin of the milk and that the production process adheres to traditional methods.

Profile

Ossau-Iraty is aged for a minimum of 90 days. It is ivory with a firm, slightly oily texture. Its taste is simultaneously nutty and sweet, with hints of olive, hazelnut and fig.

Wine and food pairing

Ossau-Iraty is ideal for the cheese board and can be enjoyed with bread, black cherry jam and honey, or with fruits.

This wine friendly cheese tickles the palate with Pinot Gris, Bordeaux Blanc, any medium-to-full bodied Merlot, or rare local Basque wine such as Irouléguy. You can also pair it with a California Sémillon or Chardonnay.


Chistou

Origin

Chistou is produced in the heart of the Basque region and boasts its dramatic heritage, a land of deep valleys and steep mountains. It is a proud region between France and Spain where culinary tradition is very much alive.

Taste and texture

Istara™ Chistou is a mix-milk cheese made from 50% cow’s milk and 50% sheep’s milk, and aged for a minimum of 90 days in the village of Larceveau.

This complex cheese combines the fragrant rounded taste of cow’s milk with the distinctive smooth tangy flavor of sheep’s milk. Its texture is full-bodied and rich, with a satisfying and pleasant melt-in-your-mouth feel. Chistou’s smoothness and character will please newcomers and specialty cheese connoisseurs alike.

Wine and food pairing

Chistou is best appreciated as an appetizer with fresh fruits or as a cheese course before dessert. It can be paired with medium-to-full-bodied red wines or a spicy Pinor Noir from Oregon.


Kaikou

Origin

Kaïkou is a rustic cheese produced in the heart of the Basque region and boasts its dramatic heritage, a land of deep valleys and steep mountains. It is a proud region between France and Spain where culinary tradition is very much alive.

Taste and texture

Kaïkou is made with pure sheep’s milk and aged for a minimum of six months. It is recognizable for its rustic appearance with an etched ripple pattern on its golden brown rind.

The cheese has a firm, almost crumbly texture and a very distinctive taste. It is lightly salty but not too sharp, with a piquant flavor of sheep’s milk and a strong overtone of olive oil. You can also distinguish a fragrant aroma of wild herbs and summer grassland.

Wine and food pairing

Kaïkou can be enjoyed by itself in very thin slices with black cherry jam, savored cut and cubed over salads, or grated over gratins.

Pair it with sweet white wines such as Jurançon or medium-to-full bodied red wines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc grape varieties (Madiran).

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