August 12, 2008
La Fête du Fromage - Etorki
Sometimes I think it's better not to have any expectations.
I knew I would get around to tasting Etorki eventually, as it is readily available in our little corner of France. I thought it would be good, but not great. (Don't ask me where I got my pre-conceived ideas about Etorki, because I really have no idea)
Well, I am happy to report that I was wrong!
Etorki is an unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese that has been produced in the Basque region of southwestern France for over 4000 years. Each hard pressed, squat cheese is formed by hand by shepherds in the French Pyrénées using fresh milk from the black faced Manech sheep. It is produced from mid-December until late June/early July and allowed to mature for 3-6 months.
I highly recommend buying a nice chunk and tasting Etorki for yourself.
It has a smooth, velvety texture and rich, hazelnut and almost caramel-like flavor. The aroma is sweet and buttery and it is voluptuous on the tongue.
Its supple texture would be perfect in recipes calling for grating or melting cheese, and if you're intolerant to cow's milk, Etorki makes an excellent substitute.
It pairs beautifully with red wine from Médoc or the Rhône Valley.
Don't forget to join in the new monthly blog event, La Fête du Fromage. Send me your submissions by September 13.