Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, August 22 2019

Bleu des Basques

By: Allison Spurrell
The Basques - and many others - are passionate about this special blue

Blue cheese fans are everywhere and none are more passionate than those who love to imbibe in Bleu des Basques.

Origin: The village of Macaye, near Espelette at the foot of the French Pyerénées

Milk Type: Pasteurized sheep milk collected from ewes from over 250 local farmers. The traditional sheep breeds of the area are used: Black Faced Manech, Red-Faced Manech, and Basco-Bearnaise.

Style: This is a firm blue with a natural rind, aged in ancient cellars in the village. The natural yeasts and molds of the cellars are an integral part of the ageing and ripening of the cheese

Description: The paste of the cheese is firm and veined with blue-green coloured mold. The natural crust tends to be greyish in colour, dry, and slightly powdery. The wheels are either two kilos or five kilos.

Tasting Notes: Bleu des Basques is very different from most other French blues. It isn’t brined so it's far less salty, although it does still have a tiny salty kick at the end. Typical of Basque sheep’s cheese, it has a lovely fruity taste, with a tangy finish. The blue veining is distinctive but not strong, and it doesn’t take away from the delicate nature of the sheep milk.

Pairing: A match we love is the typical Basque accompaniment to sheep cheese - black cherry jam. 

From the GOW site, we found three wines that should be a perfect fit.

Written By: Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell

Allison Spurrell stocks the larders of the city’s finest restaurants and your fridge alike, through les amis du FROMAGE, cheese shops in the Kitslano and Strathcona neighbourhoods in Vancouver which she runs with Joe Chaput. Their shelves are filled with 400 cheeses, including local, raw milk French, Italian and other specialties. They also sell foie gras, pâtés, crackers, biscuits, varietal olive oils, vinegars and other specialty food items and their kitchen in Strathcona prepares popular frozen taken away meals. Les amis du FROMAGE has received Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant Award as a top food supplier to Vancouver’s best restaurants and hotels. Allison is a proud member of Confrerie les Chevalier du Taste Fromage de France. To buy cheese visit: les amis du FROMAGE in Kitslano - 1752 West 2nd Ave | Tel (604) 732-4218 or Strathcona - 843 East Hastings St | Tel 604-253-4218 | www.buycheese.com.