WHAT IS RONCAL?
This Basque cheese is made between December and July. Its’ natural rind molds easily, but can be quickly removed with a bit of vinegar or oil. A P.D.O. cheese, it is crafted from the sheep’s milk of Rasa, Latxa and Latxa Milchschaf cross breeds. The fat and protein composition of the cheese must be in line with what would normally be present naturally during each season. Roncal itself is aged for at least 4 months before being ready for consumption.
WHERE IS RONCAL MADE?
This queso originates on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees mountains in the Valley of Roncal. These production districts are the same ones where the sheep migrate each year. ‘Son of the Pyrenees” is the Basque nickname for this cheese. It was made before the Basque Kingdom had officially become a part of the Spanish empire.
TAKEN 4 – LIAM NEESON RESCUES RONCAL’S 3 COWS!
The Spanish valley of Roncal and the neighboring French valley of Barétous have the oldest active peace treaty known to man. Every July 13th since 1375, the French pay a tribute of 3 cows to their Spanish Basque neighbors. Much like marriage this contract is an agreement between equals. However the bovine payments are always made to Spain, not the other way around. Ironically due to it being illegal to import / export cows that haven’t passed through the proper customs procedures, the tribute is now quietly returned to Barétous.
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH RONCAL?
Tempranillo, Pinot Grigio, Syrah or a Sauvignon Blanc wines pair well with this queso. For international cheese flights, try mixing up milks and textures with a nice French Delice de Bourgogne and an American Humboldt Fog. If you’re looking for more of a Spanish sheep’s milk theme, a 12 month manchego and an Idiazabal could be fun.