Sheep milk – How much do you know?


When it comes to cheese made from sheep’s milk, there are several forms to choose from – soft or hard, strong or mild. But regardless of the texture or the taste, one thing is certain for all of sheep’s milk cheese – it is very delicious. And if you have not tried having this cheese just yet, it is never too late to try a P’tit Basque!


P’tit Basque is an unpasteurized and uncooked hard sheep’s milk cheese that comes from the Pyrenees Mountains, the border that separates France and Spain. While most of the known cheeses today have been around for hundreds of years, this particular French cheese is different. Unlike its other relatives in the cheese kin, this cheese is the youngest that debuted only in 1997.


Although P’tit Basque is technically a very new cheese, it is made using traditional methods. It is manufactured using the same techniques that local shepherds used several hundred years ago. The very first P’tit Basque was made from pure sheep’s milk that the farmers put aside while milking their ewes.


Cheese from sheep is considered as the ultimate reward for cheese lovers. Cheese made from sheep’s milk definitely tastes better than cow’s milk cheese and goat’s milk cheese because it contains a higher butterfat and protein content than cow or goat’s milk. That makes any sheep’s milk cheese extremely rich in the two very essential components that make good cheese. It has a unique quality that translates into a certain depth and complexity that is absent in any other cheeses.


For the lactose intolerant, this is a very great alternative to regular cow’s milk cheese. However, the main health benefit that one can get from a sheep’s milk cheese like the P’tit Basque is its high calcium content – it will only need two cups of sheep milk to get the daily minimum calcium requirement for an average person, while it takes three to four cups of cow’s milk to provide the same nutrition.


Sheep’s milk cheese is often an acquired taste, so it is better if you start with something “friendly to the tongue” like the P’tit Basque. It has a mild flavor because it is only aged for seventy days. That means that it is very enjoyable in the tongue, tasting like nuts and fruits with hints of caramel. So before you move on to more aged sheep cheeses that have more complex and sheepy flavors, start your sheep cheese adventure with P’tit Basque first.


You can serve it with sliced tomatoes, olive oil and some bread, or make a sandwich out of it – the P’tit Basque will not disappoint you when it comes to flavor and aroma! Slice some apples and open a fresh Burgundy. Enjoy!




Keep being ewenique!


Diane Rae

Master Cheesemaker

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