My wife and I recently sampled what is ostensibly the world's greatest cheese--at least according to the panel of judges at London's 2006 World Cheese Awards. Ossau Iraty beat out more than 1,500 cheeses from around the world, earning 90 out of a possible 100 points, to become the 2006 World Cheese Champion.
Ossau Iraty is a raw sheep's milk cheese made in the Basque region of France. It is a blonde, medium-firm cheese with a rind that has been washed in brine. It is intensely flavored but has a very mild aroma.
Judges at the World Cheese Awards described Ossau Iraty as "a privilege to eat– sweet, nutty, complex and long-lasting flavour." This cheese literally melts in your mouth.
If you want to try this world-class cheese, Premier Gourmet still has some in stock. But I suggest you hurry. Because this cheese is a bit more expensive than other cheeses at Premier, I doubt it is an item Premier is going to keep on hand on a regular basis.
The Basques serve Ossau Iraty with black cherry jam. In order to appreciate the full flavor of this cheese, do not serve it chilled. Let it warm up to room temperature first.