Pyrenees Brebis


Type:  Hard
Milk: Thermised sheep's milk
Rennet: Animal
Location: Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France

Made in Helette, in the Basque region of the Pyrenees, our Pyrenees Brebis shares much of the history of an Ossau Iraty recipe which is said to be one of the first cheese ever made, dating back to around 3,000 years ago.

The recipe unifies the farming traditions of two staunch adversaries of the Pyrenees, the Basques and Bearnais. Whilst the inhabitants remain proudly independent of each other, this cheese conjoins their milks and production techniques to give a silken textured, long aged, hard cheese with toffee and butterscotch flavours. Sheep farming existed in these high peaks for many centuries, but the isolation and hardship of shepherding there saw the profession undergo a decline in the last 100 years.

The Agour creamery, set up in the late 19th Century by the grandfather of the Peio family, are a local co-operative who collect the milks of the mountain farmers and make the cheese themselves, lightening the work load of the herdsmen and ensuring the on-going legacy of the recipe.

Crucially, the cheese leaves the AOP zone at just 1 week old and is matured by Jules Mons and the team at Tunnel de la Collonge, a disused railway tunnel in the village of Ambierle which houses the majority of Mons France's hard cheeses. The resulting cheese shares many of the characteristics of Ossau Iraty but goes by a different name - Pyrenees Brebis.