Le grand fromage: French cheese scoops the big prize - Wines France

Le grand fromage: French cheese scoops the big prize


Date: Sunday, August 06 @ 13:28:14 MDT
Topic:

Follow the Froggies: Alsace gastronomy.



Only a few tons are produced every year by a small business located in the lush foothills of the French Pyrenees and you won't find it in any high street supermarket. But the cheese made by the Etcheleku family from the milk of their own ewes has beaten off the big boys from Camembert, Stilton and Gouda to be named this year's supreme champion in the World Cheese Awards.

The 10-month old Ossau Iraty Brebis, made at the Fromagerie Agour run by the Etcheleku family near the village of Helette in the Pays Basque and which has only been on sale in this country for six weeks, beat competition from more than 1,500 cheeses from across the world to scoop top place in the awards. It was awarded 90 points out of a possible 100.

The judging panel, made up of cheese experts from around the world, said the Brebis was "a privilege to eat".' Similar to, but slightly softer than other more well known ewe's cheeses such as Italian pecorino or Spanish manchego, it was said to have both a salty and slightly sweet taste, which ''melted on the palate''.

It also received a gold award in the hard ewe's milk cheese category; a six month old Ossau-Iraty also received a bronze award.
Gourmets anxious to try a sample will have to move fast. It is currently only stocked at one place in Britain, Root's Delicatessen in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire or through its website, French Food Freaks.

Les Root, the owner, who imports the cheese and other local produce through friends in the area, said: "I hope we have some left, because there maybe a big demand.''
The Etcheleku family, he said, had been "overjoyed" to hear news of the award yesterday afternoon. The Fromagerie Agour, he said, was a "typical, very small, family-run business, with a very good reputation".

Mr Root said the cheese was best enjoyed accompanied by a quince paste, in the same fashion as the Spanish eat manchego. The Brebis has only been on sale for six weeks but Mr Root decided to enter it ''because it was so bloody good.'' And in keeping, he stressed, with the high quality of all the produce in the area, such as Bayonne Ham, which is also sold through his website.

Entries for the awards, now in their 19th year and held this year at the Taste of London food festival in Regent's Park, were received from as far afield as the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as the main European cheese producing countries such as France, Italy and the Netherlands.

In total, 135 gold awards were presented, along with 132 silver and 157 bronze awards, which the organisers said demonstrated the sheer quality and diversity of the huge variety of cheeses now available.
Second place went to the Defendi Gorgonzola Caravaggio, which won best blue cheese, while Wensleydale Dairy Products Traditional Wensleydale was best English cheese.

Bob Farrand, chairman of the UK Cheese Guild, said: "The judging was the closest this year that it has ever been in the award's history with two cheeses scoring the same amount of points. The Brebis was overall winner due to the fact that it received three maximum scores from the judges, but the Gorgonzola Caravaggio came a very close second.

"This just goes to show the fantastic quality of the cheese entered, however the Ossau Iraty Brebis was outstanding and truly deserved to win.''

Only a few tons are produced every year by a small business located in the lush foothills of the French Pyrenees and you won't find it in any high street supermarket. But the cheese made by the Etcheleku family from the milk of their own ewes has beaten off the big boys from Camembert, Stilton and Gouda to be named this year's supreme champion in the World Cheese Awards.

The 10-month old Ossau Iraty Brebis, made at the Fromagerie Agour run by the Etcheleku family near the village of Helette in the Pays Basque and which has only been on sale in this country for six weeks, beat competition from more than 1,500 cheeses from across the world to scoop top place in the awards. It was awarded 90 points out of a possible 100.

The judging panel, made up of cheese experts from around the world, said the Brebis was "a privilege to eat".' Similar to, but slightly softer than other more well known ewe's cheeses such as Italian pecorino or Spanish manchego, it was said to have both a salty and slightly sweet taste, which ''melted on the palate''.

It also received a gold award in the hard ewe's milk cheese category; a six month old Ossau-Iraty also received a bronze award.

Gourmets anxious to try a sample will have to move fast. It is currently only stocked at one place in Britain, Root's Delicatessen in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire or through its website, French Food Freaks.

Les Root, the owner, who imports the cheese and other local produce through friends in the area, said: "I hope we have some left, because there maybe a big demand.'' The Etcheleku family, he said, had been "overjoyed" to hear news of the award yesterday afternoon
The Fromagerie Agour, he said, was a "typical, very small, family-run business, with a very good reputation".
Mr Root said the cheese was best enjoyed accompanied by a quince paste, in the same fashion as the Spanish eat manchego. The Brebis has only been on sale for six weeks but Mr Root decided to enter it ''because it was so bloody good.'' And in keeping, he stressed, with the high quality of all the produce in the area, such as Bayonne Ham, which is also sold through his website.

Entries for the awards, now in their 19th year and held this year at the Taste of London food festival in Regent's Park, were received from as far afield as the United States, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand as well as the main European cheese producing countries such as France, Italy and the Netherlands.

In total, 135 gold awards were presented, along with 132 silver and 157 bronze awards, which the organisers said demonstrated the sheer quality and diversity of the huge variety of cheeses now available.

Second place went to the Defendi Gorgonzola Caravaggio, which won best blue cheese, while Wensleydale Dairy Products Traditional Wensleydale was best English cheese.

Bob Farrand, chairman of the UK Cheese Guild, said: "The judging was the closest this year that it has ever been in the award's history with two cheeses scoring the same amount of points. The Brebis was overall winner due to the fact that it received three maximum scores from the judges, but the Gorgonzola Caravaggio came a very close second.

"This just goes to show the fantastic quality of the cheese entered, however the Ossau Iraty Brebis was outstanding and truly deserved to win.''

Terry Kirby, Chief Reporter
The Independant, 17 june 2006





Wines France
http://www.vinoline.net

URL:
http://www.vinoline.net/article40.html