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Roncal

Roncal
Photo Credit: Quesos la Vasco Navarra S.A.
  • Made from unpasteurized sheep's milk

  • Country of origin: Spain

  • Region: Navarre

  • Type: hard, artisan

  • Texture: firm, grainy, open and smooth

  • Rind: natural

  • Colour: ivory

  • Flavour: buttery, herbaceous, sharp, spicy, sweet

  • Aroma: earthy, mushroom, nutty

  • Vegetarian: no

  • Producers: Quesos la Vasco Navarra S.A.

Roncal is a Spanish cheese made in the Roncal Valley, north Navarre in the Basque territory near the border of France.  It is protected by the Protected designation of origin (PDO) as per which the cheese should be made only between the months from December to July from raw sheep milk of Rasa and Lacha breed.

Made from whole milk, Roncal is a wheel-shaped cheese that is covered with a hard, natural rind dotted by velvety-smooth layer of blue-gray mould. This greenish moldy surface is occasionally covered in olive oil. Inside, the ivory white to pale yellow paste is firm, elastic and slightly grainy, with small, irregular holes. As Roncal ages, the beige interior turns to amber and becomes increasingly tangy. It has a sweet, herbaceous flavour, thanks to the natural pastures of wild grasses, herbs and flowers on which the sheep graze. An optimal aged Roncal leaves a sharp, slightly spicy and buttery flavour on the palate that goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Tempranillo.

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