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Aug 16, 2009 08:34 PM

Sheep's milk cheese

I had a huge duh moment the other day when I realized that my favorite cheeses are all sheeps milk cheeses (cana de oveja, roquefort, pecorino romano + some toscanos). I don't know where to take it from here. I don't like the tang of most sheeps milk cheeses, but am fine with less tangy blends. I tend to like dry, grassy, and sharper tones to cheese. What would you recommend?

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  1. Try Le P'tit Basque. It is not sharp, but is delicious. Like you, my favourites are also sheep's milk.

    1. I just bought a Sheep's Milk gouda from Trader Joes and I like it.

      I too like the dry and sharp sheep cheeses, especially pecorino.

      1 Reply
      1. Manchego is a delicious sheep's milk cheese from the La Mancha region of Spain. Its cheese cousin, Campo De Montalban, is a similar cheese made from a mixture of sheep, cow, and goat milk.

        1. The Spanish make some wonderful sheep's milk cheese. Manchego being the most popular. You may get it very young or aged to suit your tastes. I feel in love with this cheese while in Spain and ate manchego cheese with membrillo (quince paste) at the end of a meal. Delightful. Also great with olives and jamon or cooked in dishes (croquetas, etc). Idiazabal is another Spanish cheese (Basque) that is lightly smoked.

          5 Replies
          1. re: BigSal

            I bought some Cabrales cheese and quince paste as the guy in the store told me that they go well together. I was not overly impressed with the cheese (don't know if it was sheep's milk).

            1. re: souschef

              Cabrales can sometimes have some sheep's milk, but typically it is cow's milk and/or goat's and sometimes a blend of sheep's, cow and goat, but nonetheless it is not a cheese I would eat with membrillo. I think the powerful, piquant Cabrales would overwhelm the membrillo. I like Cabrales with honey, pear and walnuts.

              I noticed Le P'tit Basque at my cheese shop today and purchased it based on your reccomendation...and you were right it is delicious. This is a cheese that would also go nicely with membrillo.

              1. re: souschef

                maybe the cheese guy was thinking of the manchego with membrillo.

                1. re: alkapal

                  He very specifically said cabrales with membrillo when I saw the cabrales and asked what it was like. He decided to stock them both as a customer requested it, saying that the combination was what was normally eaten together..

                  1. re: souschef

                    well, with all due respect to your cheese advisor, he is mistaken. it is manchego that is customary. plus, cabrales is a blue, and not always made only of sheep's milk; whereas manchego has a smoother texture, is not blue, and is made exclusively from manchega sheep's milk. blue chese with membrillo wouldn't make me happy, either. walnuts or -- better -- almonds, maybe, but membrillo? nah.

                    >>>""" In Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay the membrillo, as the quince is called in Spanish, is cooked into a reddish jello-like block or firm reddish paste known as dulce de membrillo. It is then eaten in sandwiches and with cheese, traditionally manchego cheese, or accompanying fresh curds. In Portugal, a similar sweet is called marmelada. It is also produced and consumed in Hungary where it is called "quince cheese.""<<<

                    >>>""""Manchego is often eaten on Spanish crackers, or with salmon or lamb. It is also eaten with dulce de membrillo, a firm paste made of quince. Manchego also goes well with a medium-bodied beer or a Rioja wine. A traditional way to enjoy it in Spain is served on toasted bread that has been rubbed with garlic and tomato, then drizzled with olive oil.
                    A similar cheese is popular in Mexico and Spanish-speaking areas of the United States.... Mexican Manchego is typically a semi-firm (not hard) cheese used for melting, similar to that of Oaxaca cheese, both of which are often used in quesadillas)."""<<<<

            2. Vermont Shepherd is one of the 10 best cheeses in the world IMO. Contact them at or call: 802-387-4473.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Joebob

                a few of my favorite sheeps

                Keflalotyri/Kasseri/Keflogravaria-Three very closely related greek sheep-sheep-goat cheeses from Greece. A good one is sometimes hard to find (a lot of the commecially availbe ones are either very bland or have that acetoney ("nail polish remover") scent. If find that the most reliable (if you areidn getting it somewhere where you can taste first) is Olympus

                Haloumi-another "Greek" (actually Cypriot) Cheese. Rubbery, bouncy and great grilled in a pan (it wont actually melt just soften and get a really crispy browned outside) and then tossed in a pita with some chopped tomatoes onions tzaziki etc (you know a gyro without the gyro meat) My brand of choice is CheesEU (nice milky taste and good salt balance)

                Sidehill Acres Folie Bergere- from upstate New York great sheep wheel in the Basque style. Can be a little difficult to find outside the Fingerlakes region, but If you do find it (or are in the area) you have to try it as it knocks most of the imported pecorino's into a cocked hat.

                I actually usally find Manchego a bit bland (even the well aged raw milk versions) I tend to prefer its cousin Zamorano (which is always raw) this tend to have a much better flavor.

                Finally if you are fond of washed rind cheeses, you may want to try Papillon Caruchon a sheep milk version of Pont L'veque. really unctuous and decadent.

                1. re: jumpingmonk

                  Re: Manchego being a bit bland, I can see where you are coming from. But it is still one of my very favorite cheeses, and I have to say that it goes very well with a good glass of red wine, especially a nice Syrah.

                  1. re: moh

                    I wasnt trying to dis your choic all I was saying is that based on my experiances (and the experiances of most of the other people I know who have tried both) if you like Manchego you'll LOVE Zamorano

                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                      No fear Jumpingmonk! No offense taken at all. And I am definitely going to search out the Zamorano, thanks for the tip!

                      1. re: moh

                        Roncal can be good too if you get a good one. I've also had good sheep from the French side of the Basque Pyrennies, though once again you have to escew the mass market versions (Petit Basque, Prince de Clerol, Ossu-Irratty) and find the few preciso artinsinal wheels that make it to our shores (I've heard that seing the words "Ardi-Gasna" is a good sign, its Basque for "our cheese") and figuring out which one your looking at (as so many of these cheeses are so visually similar mislabeling (escpecially between cheeses from the same genral region where it can can be hard for the seller toi tell cheese type from brand name) is quite common. the Italian pecorinos can suffer fromt he same thing (finding Pecorino Toscano, Siciliano, Crotonese etc is easy these days, but finding a specific brand of any of them can be near impossible .