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Ossau-Iraty (former name: Ossau-Iraty Brebis-Pyrénées ) is a French semi-hard cheese made from sheep's milk with a protected designation of origin .

Origin and Distribution

The homeland of the Ossau-Iraty is the Béarn and the Basque Country in the extreme southwest of France with the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department and a small part of the Hautes-Pyrénées department .

Denomination of Origin

According to Article 9 of Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92, the French government had requested the designation “Ossau-Iraty Brebis-Pyrénées”, which was registered as a protected designation of origin with Regulation (EC) No. 1107/96 of June 1996 to change to "Ossau-Iraty". With Regulation (EC) No. 1660/2003 of September 2003, the protected designation of origin “Ossau-Iraty Brebis-Pyrénées” was replaced by “Ossau-Iraty”.


The Ossau-Iraty ( AOC ) has the shape of a straight or slightly convex cylinder with a diameter of 18–28 cm and a height of 7 to 15 cm. Its weight usually fluctuates between 2 and 7 kg, depending on the size. As a farmer's cheese, it can weigh up to 7 kg. As Petit Ossau-Iraty , the smaller version weighs 2 to 3 kg. The cheese has a thick, orange-yellow to gray rind , the dough is smooth and white and has a firm consistency .


The Ossau-Iraty is made traditionally. The raw whole milk of the Manech or Basco-Béarnaiser sheep is mixed with rennet within 48 hours . Curdling may only be done by adding rennet and never by other enzymes. The curd is stirred with a whisk and filled into molds and pressed manually or by machine. The loaves are salted with coarse salt and ripened for at least 3 months at temperatures below 12 ° C and a humidity of over 80%. The cheese is offered all year round, but then usually has a different degree of ripeness.


The Ossau-Iraty has a nutty, herbal taste with a subtle sheep aroma and hardly smells. Its fat content is 50% in dry matter.


Ossau-Iraty is traditionally eaten as a second breakfast by shepherds and farmers in his homeland . It is suitable as a dessert cheese. It also fits on the cheese platter and tastes good with fresh bread. In France it is often eaten with cherry jam. As it ripens, it is easy to grate and is therefore also suitable for gratinating gratins and as a flavor addition to soups. The best time for this cheese is early summer to autumn.

Drink recommendation

Ossau-Iraty is usually served with strong red wines and spicy white wines from its homeland Irouléguy or eaten with cherry jam after a meal.

Web links

Commons : Ossau-Iraty Brebis-Pyrénées  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 of the Council of 14 July 1992 for the protection of geographical indications and designations of origin for agricultural products and foodstuffs
  2. Regulation (EC) No. 1107/96 of the Commission of June 12, 1996 on the registration of geographical indications and designations of origin according to the procedure under Article 17 of Regulation (EEC) No. 2081/92 of the Council
  3. Regulation (EC) No. 1660/2003 of the Commission of 19 September 2003 amending the specification of a designation in the annex to Regulation (EC) No. 1107/96 (Ossau-Iraty)