Abbaye de Belloc- Finding Comfort in Fermented Sheep’s Milk

Abbaye de Belloc

Abbaye de Belloc

Sometimes, after a long day of tasting wine, eating artisan cheese, talking about new and novel cheeses, and slicing the said sophisticated pieces of fermented milk for others (following the one-for-them/one-for-me rule), I like to return back to my comfort cheese- the Basque Abbaye de Belloc. This is the French cheese that got me into sheep’s milk.

Now, I love all styles, but sheep’s milk cheese is likely my favorite cheese genre. I love sheep’s milk’s buttery, sweet, rich, spicy notes. But back when I first started eating cheese, my dear friends, I leaned towards the more mild sheep’s milk cheeses. It’s true. Maybe you were the same. It’s a common progression- start light, then, later, reach deeper. You hear a similar story in wine- people tend to lean on the fruit-foward, smooth finish, friendly styles and work their way towards the high-acidity, more complex, even funky wines.

The first sheep’s milk cheese that I fell in love with (this was back when sheep’s milk dairies numbered under 1 or 2 in Cali) was Abbaye de Belloc. It’s rich, creamy, tastes of brown butter and caramel, and is as comforting as being swaddled in a towel fresh from the dryer. It’s also good for sheep’s cheese novices because underneath all that butter and sweetness, it has a little of that sheep meatiness that sometimes people need a little time to learn to love. Abbaye helps edge them in.

What does the sweetness come from, you ask?

Among other things, the high quality milk, and the washing and cooking of the curds. After cheesemakers have seperated the curds from the whey, they can do a number of things. Washing, or rinsing, the curds with warm water rids the curds of some of their lactose, which will later turn into lactic acid. Many Basque cheesemakers wash their curds. Cheddar cheesemakers, on the other hand, actually let their curds sit to develop more lactic acid to increase sharpness in their cheese.  If you wash some of the lactose off early on, you limit how sharp your cheese can become. Even though “washing” doesn’t increase the actual residual sugar in the cheese, the cheese ends up tasting sweeter. With Abbaye, they also cook the curds at low temperatures. This helps to sweeten the milk by slowly caramelizing the sugars (lactose). These three things make for a lovely, friendly, comforting sheep’s milk cheese.

I love eating this cheese with Pinot Noir- domestic styles, because they’re rich like the cheese, but a more robust wine works too, like a Madiran from the Pryenées region. A fuller-bodied Chardonnay, white Rhone or Champagne also scores big points.

As for eating- bring to room temperature and just go at it. Slice thin. Doesn’t need any condiments, but it sure does make one of the best mac n’ cheeses and grattins I’ve ever had. It melts like a dream. As might your heart when you dig in.

What’s your comfort cheese, and did you have a specific cheese that showed you the beauty of sheep’s milk?

48 thoughts on “Abbaye de Belloc- Finding Comfort in Fermented Sheep’s Milk

  1. gail

    Abbaey was the cheese that brought me into the study of cheese. I was a home/farm cheesemaker mny years ago and am now starting cheese pairing classes and hoping to intern with a cheesemaker at my old age. It has taken hold of me for sure.

  2. Pingback: odeon light

  3. Pingback: Ibiza Digital Marketing's servicios profesionales de medios digitales incluyen eventos, retrato, el producto y la fotograf?a comercial y de v?deo.

  4. Pingback: Cock

  5. Pingback: unilevel mlm softwares

  6. Pingback: Pensil Anak

  7. Pingback: mlm software plans

  8. Pingback: webcam romania

  9. Pingback: Referral Marketing

  10. Pingback: UBER London

  11. Pingback: american veterans aid

  12. Pingback: meditatia schumann

  13. Pingback: adware review

  14. Pingback: Yellow London Taxi

  15. Pingback: Bondage Store

  16. Pingback: curs invatare rapida

  17. Pingback: brc ifs viterbo

  18. Pingback: Night Owls Designated Drivers

  19. Pingback: cloudhq

  20. Pingback: european health insurance card

  21. Pingback: dr.kieran ayre


  23. Pingback: womens custom hairpiece

  24. Pingback: wealth management

  25. Pingback: hairpiece-tapes



  28. Pingback: caravan covers

  29. Pingback: PARTY BUS IN DC

  30. Pingback: wall decor

  31. Pingback: satu8poker

  32. Pingback: cool tees

  33. Pingback: siri di android

  34. Pingback: custom hairpiece

  35. Pingback: screen printing

  36. Pingback: custom hairpiece

  37. Pingback: HD Diwali Wallpapers

  38. Pingback: Tarifas Redes Sociales. Hemos preparado opciones diferentes para un servicio profesional de Social Media que se ... Marketing de Redes Sociales.

  39. Pingback: pinched nerve treatment

  40. Pingback:

  41. Pingback: room addition Tarzana

  42. Pingback: Amazing UFO News

  43. Pingback: general contractor Los Angeles

  44. Pingback: hair weave machine

  45. Pingback: chess sets uk

  46. Pingback: Electronics

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *