Abbaye de Belloc

Image: Abbaye de Belloc, an unpasturized sheep's milk cheese

Image: Abbaye de Belloc, an unpasturized sheep's milk cheeseAbbaye de Belloc (a semi-hard, unpasturized sheep’s milk cheese)

Abbaye de Belloc is also called ‘Abbaye Notre-Dame de Belloc‘ ever since it has been produced by the Benedictine monks at the eponymous Abby in the Pays Basque region of France.

They used unpasteurized sheep milk and established a cheese-making process that dates back some 3,000 years!

Abbaye de Belloc is a flat, wheel-shaped, traditional, farmhouse*, semi-hard cheese made from sheep’s milk. It has a natural, crusty, brownish rind with patches of red, orange and yellow. The rind is marked with by pinholes.

The cheese has a semi-firm, rich and creamy texture. The taste resembles burnt caramel, and there is a distinctive lanolin (wooly) aroma. The aging process of the cheese ranges from four to ten months. The younger wheels are made in December, the older ones in July. Both types are sent to market in the Spring.

*The term “farmhouse” emphasizes a connection to the rural environment and artisanal production. It is synonymous with “Farmstead”. These cheeses are typically made in smaller quantities and may vary in flavor, texture, and appearance based on the specific methods and ingredients used by individual farmers. These cheeses generally come from the farm’s own herds, whereas an “artisanal” cheese incorporates milk from neighboring herds.