PDO Ossau-Iraty, guaranteed Béarn and Basque Country

A product of the farming and cattle-raising system, this farmhouse ewe’s milk cheese comes from the Pyrénées Atlantiques region. In the 14th century it was recognised as a trading currency in various rental or purchase contracts and was the leading source of income for shepherds. Its name is derived from Ossau Valley in Béarn and the Iraty mountains in the Basque Country. A ewe’s milk cheese that is reputed to keep well, it is traditionally eaten with black cherry jam but some gourmet lovers recommend trying it with quine paste.

  • brebis
    Sheep’s milk
  • AOP
  • thermometre
    Raw milk or thermised/pasteurised milk
  • fromages
    Pressed uncooked cheese
Key figures
  • 1 141 Milk producers
  • 173 Farmhouse producers
  • 10 Production plants
  • 14 Maturing plants
  • 4 986 Tons marketed in 2020

Our tasting tips

La découpe du Ossau-Iraty


Ossau-Iraty is traditionally cut into slices 4 to 5mm thick, cutting perpendicular to the length of the cheese. It can also be cut into cubes or triangles 2 to 3mm thick for a more modern presentation.

Pains à déguster avec le Ossau-Iraty


Cereal bread

Accords gourmands

Food pairings

Alcohol abuse is harmful to your health.

Drink in moderation.

Dry white wine from Béarn (Jurançon), the Basque Country (Irouléguy) or Jura
Loire red wine
Brut champagne
Dark beer
Peated Islay whisky
Jura red wine
Loire red wine
Bordeaux red wine
Champagne red wine
Demi-sec Champagne demi-sec
Rosé Champagne
Red tea from China

Organoleptic characteristics


Ossau-Iraty comes as a generous-sized flat cylinder (two sizes available): around 2.5kg and 4.5kg). The rind is natural and its colour ranges from yellow-range to grey. The corners of the Basque type are right angles, whereas the Béarn type has rounded corners.



The texture of Basque Ossau-Iraty is quite firm, dry and slightly crumbly.
The texture Béarn Ossau-Iraty is moister and more soluble. The cheese literally melts in the mouth as soon as you start chewing. This special texture is associated with a freshness that covers the whole palate.



Milky, plant and sometimes animal flavours.



Dried fruit, ewe.