2018 World Champion Cheese

Logo World Champion Cheese 2018

This year, Esquirrou (pronounced EHS-keer-oo) took home « World Champion » at the 2018 World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wisconsin. Earning a whopping 98.376 out of 100 from the judges’ panel, Esquirrou bested a record-breaking 3,402 entries from 26 countries.

Cheese Esquirrou on slate
Esquirrou back Esquirrou slice Esquirrou front

A « Bell » of a Cheese

Esquirrou is a small Ossau Iraty cheese, holding the PDO seal (Protected Denomination of Origin). Crafted in the Basque region of France, with milk from a small area around Mauléon, our local cheesemaker carefully guard and preserve its authentic cheesemaking tradition. The milk collected locally comes from about 300 farms in a 50 miles radius of the plant which is in accordance to the specifications stipulated in the PDO rules. Following the milk seasonality, the production goes from november to july.

Esquirrou means « Bell » in Bearnais, a local dialect, referring to the bell the sheeps are wearing around their necks.

What Makes It So Good?

This hard cheese is made using the milk of the Manech and Basco-bearnaise ewes grazing within the breathtakingly beautiful region of southwestern France. Aged for at least six months, the cheese has an amber rind, under which you’ll find a rich ivory paste, with nutty notes and the aroma of toasted wheat.

Together, the rich paste and 100% naturally thick rind lend Esquirrou a firmness of touch and pleasing unctuousness on the palate.

Intensity:
Softness:

Pays
Basque

Sheep
Milk

Gluten
Free

GMO
Free

Bergerac or
Bordeaux

Appetizing pairing by Roland Barthélemy

Video Esquirrou