Gasna, also known as Ardi Gasna is a Basque cheese from the Pyrenees region, where the meaning of "Ardi" is ewe and "Gasna" signifies cheese, thus, indicating that the Gasna cheese is created from the milk of ewes. The main location of production is the Nive Valley. The large sized cheese has a orange yellow rind that is slightly humid or sticky but the interior is firm and sinuous. The cheese is traditionally made during the spring and late summer resulting in a richer tasting cheese due to the summer pastures. This variety is very rare and highly prized. The cheese traditionally has a hard texture but it is very rich tasting. The flavor is generally distinct with a slight hint of sweetness. This is due to the summer mountain flowers that the sheep graze at the time of the summer pastures.
History of Ardi Gasna Basque Cheese
Not much is known about the history of Gasna but the region is known for its large herds of sheep. It is possible that the local shepherds started making their own cheeses to deal with the extra milk that was produced. The cheese has a hard rind that is supposed to have been rubbed with Espelette peppers but the actual origin of the cheese is unknown.
Culinary Uses of Pyrenees Ardi Gasna
This is a table cheese that can be eaten as-is but it can also be grated for sprinkling over other dishes.
Cuisines that use Ardi Gasna
Basque cuisine uses the cheese extensively as a table cheese. It is very difficult to find this cheese outside France due to its rarity.
Ardi Gasna Cheese Buying Tips
Gasna is available all year round but there are several different maturities that can be bought. Smaller cheeses are younger and are called as the Arradoy, and those that are made from the summer milk of the summer pastures are called Arneguy or Esterençuby. Generally, the cheese is sold as a 3kg block through online gourmet cheese stores. It is very difficult to find this local cheese though. Check the maturity of the cheese before purchase as the taste varies considerably. Once bought, Gasna should be stored in a cool area within a cover of parchment paper.