Esbareich is a round-shaped cheese produced in the Lourse valley in Bigorre region of southwest France. It is named after a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France. The cheese, made from the milk of sheep, traces its history to the seventeenth century when it was first made in the high mountains of Aquitaine-Pyrenees. This uncooked, pressed cheese is washed with saltwater brine and matured at least two to six months in cool and damp cellars. After four months, the washed rind thickens and becomes yellowish while the paste is soft yet firm. It has the characteristic strong smell of sheep's cheeses with a pronounced fruity and nutty flavour. The best Esbareich is found during summer and autumn. Pair the cheese with a red wine like Madiran.
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