Ossau-Iraty, also known as Istara, is a French cheese made from sheep milk.
Ossau-Iraty is produced in south-western France in the Northern Basque Country, which is in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département. It has been recognized as an appellation d'origine contrôlée since 1980.
Sources of information on this cheese indicate that production techniques are very much in the essence of old world methods where the sheep still graze mountain pastures. This is an uncooked cheese made through pressing.
Ossau-Iraty is rather medium-soft light in color and very complex yet delicately smooth flavors. This cheese tastes slightly akin to cow's cheeses of similar texture such as alps cheese. Ossau-Iraty is complex and includes an edible slightly white-moldy tart rind which adds considerably to the experience. This is a creamy, not bitter, not overly sweet, perhaps slightly nutty cheese with a gentleness and ability to please. Finishes rich and smooth.
It is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.