First made a thousand years ago. The name Ossau-Iraty — a combination of the Ossau Valley in Bearn and the Iraty Mountains in the Basque country — dates only from 1980, when the appellation was established. But the cheese is ancient, traditionally made by shepherds in mountain huts as they worked their way up the mountains with their flocks of sheep in spring and back down in autumn.
The lovely Pyrenees Ossau-Iraty is an AOC, or appellation-controlled, cheese, one of only two AOC sheep’s milk cheeses in France. (The other is Roquefort.)