The Best of Basque

Idiazábal, the quintessential shepherd’s cheese.

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Idiazabal is a charming municipality located south of Guipúzcoa, in the region of Goierri. This small village finds in some privileged natural surroundings, among the Natural Park of Aralar and the imposing Saws of Aizkorri. With an extension of 29 km2 and a population of 2,271 inhabitants according to data from the INE 2022, Idiazabal offers a dotted picturesque landscape of medieval farmhouses, cheese shops, cider houses and traditional museums that perfectly combine the rich Basque tradition with the local industry
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History and Heritage

The history of Idiazabal traces to ancient times, since in its surroundings can appreciate traces of the Age of Bronze and settlements of the Neolithic, like the tumuli and dolmens of Atxurbi, Napalatza, Unanabi, Etxegarate, Bidarte and Zorroztarri. The architectural romance style-Gothic (12th-13th centuries) also leaves his footprint in the landscape through the portico of the parish church of San Miguel, situated in the ancient helmet. Besides, it is noteworthy the Palaces of the Indianos Txomenarenea, Floreaga and Arraizenea, as well as the stately houses of Eztenaga, Maugia and Oiarbide, built in the 17th and 18th centuries, that stand out the historical importance of the child of sheep in this rural municipality. In the square of the village finds a monument devoted to the shepherd, a homage to this so rooted activity in the area.

Basque Cheese

The Cheese Idiazabal: Tradition and Flavour

The Idiazabal cheese follows the traditional recipe that has been used during centuries by the Basque shepherds. This delicious product, which has Denomination of Origin, is a cheese cured with a minimum maturation of two months. His preparation is entirely artisanal and makes exclusively with milk of sheep latxa and carranza.

REGARDING the flavour, the Idiazabal cheese delights the palate with its only character and complex, which is influenced by its time of maturation and the method of preparation. The youngest cheeses offer us a soft and creamy experience, with subtle notes of nuts that interweave with a light sweet nuance. To measure that the mature cheese, its flavor intensifies and goes back more robust, revealing smoky and earthy nuances that wake the senses. Each bite is a delight for cheese lovers, an explosion of flavors that lingers on the palate and leaves an incomparable feeling.

Idiazabal Cheese

Territory Idiazabal: A Complete Experience

The Territory Idiazabal offers the opportunity to visit the txabolas of the shepherds in the natural parks, as well as to enjoy tastings of cheeses and pairings between cheese and txakoli. All a world turns around the ranches, the routes of collected milk, the cheese factories, the rigorous sensory analyzes and the points of sale of one of the main gastronomic pleasures of our country.

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Basque Cheese Tour

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Route of the Cheese Idiazabal

The Route of the Cheese Idiazábal (GR-283) offers you the opportunity to enjoy hiking in some exceptional surroundings while you discover the production process of the cheese Idiazábal. Natural parks where the sheep graze gently, visits the authentic cheese shops where elaborates this so special cheese and visits the animate markets where commercialises. You don´t lose you the opportunity to taste and enjoy this gastronomic jewel!

ORDIZIA - SURE

Initiating this adventure, an indispensable stop is the historical set of Igartza, a true treasure that shows the jobs and the architectural evolution of the Goierri throughout the centuries. Continuing our path among meadows, we arrive at Olaberria, a place that offers incomparable panoramic views of the Goierri from its natural balcony. Finally, we arrive to Idiazabal, cradle of the cheese that gives name to this route, where you can visit the Monument to Pastor and the Center of Interpretation of the Cheese Idiazabal.

Centre of Interpretation of the Cheese Idiazabal

SURE - MIRANDAOLA

In this stage, explore the mining and metallurgical history of the region. Ascending from Sure until Zerain, discover the ancient ovens of Aizpea, that in the past processed the mineral extracted from the Mountain of Iron. A descent beside the brook Troi spends us to Mutiloa, where we will find fascinating mining remains. Afterwards, we ascend until Aztiria and descend again until Legazpia, where we finalize the stage in the historical forges of Mirandaola, known by his legend.

Mutiloa

MIRANDAOLA - ARANTZAZU

In this stage, immerse us in the ancient iron and steel industry when visiting the Mirandaola forge, which has been restored and at present is in operation. If you have the luck to visit it on a Sunday, you will be able to witness the work of the smiths in action. To continuation, we enter the Ecomuseum of the Pastoreo, located in the neighborhood Telleriarte, that offers us a fascinating vision of another traditional job of the area. Going through Brinkola and surrounding the reservoir of Barrendiola, find authentic cabins in Jandoain. When achieving the step of Biozkorna, arrive at the tallest point of this stage. Descending to Mesh, we are delighted with the beauty of the surroundings, where mounds and horses grazing intermingle, until finally arriving at Arantzazu.

Zerain - Aizpea labeak

ARANTZAZU - ETXEGARATE

Arantzazu is an artistic jewel of the 20th century and an important cultural centre, recognised by his contribution to the euskara batua, the tongue unified of the Basque. From here, we ascend to the campas of Urbia, where the megaliths and the cabins reveal us the antiquity of this human settlement. Doing a pause to enjoy of a reconfortante broth in the sale of Urbia, continue our path from Olza until the step of Saint Adrián, a historical route of communication with Castilla that crosses the imponente Saws of Aizkorri. Following the route by Añabaso, approach to the border among Navarra, Álava and Gipuzkoa, where awaits us Etxegarate, the end of this stage.

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ETXEGARATE - LIZARRUSTI

In this stage of the Route of the Cheese, immerse us in a route that our ancestors have traveled countless times. The silent testimonies of tumuli and megaliths speak us of his ancient trips. From the beginning, when undertaking our path, find us with the impressive beech forest of Altzania, from where sprouts the only tributary of Gipuzkoa that feeds the Mediterranean. The tumulus of Igartza West, the beautiful shod of Bernoa, Zelatamuño… The landmarks of the path look youngsters in comparison with the traces of those that inhabited these earths does thousands of years. We furrow A crest with Gipuzkoa to one side and Navarra to the other, marveling us with the views that unfold in front of our eyes. And suddenly, descend by a narrow footpath until arriving at Lizarrusti

1280px Cam%C3%AD de Lizarrusti a Lareo 20180802 104056

LIZARRUSTI - ORDIZIA

This tract spends us from the mountains until the streets, crossing a rich zone in megaliths and karstic landscapes, a route that the shepherds are used to visit usually. Under our feet, although on occasions shows in all his splendor, flows the key element that has given form to these surroundings: the water, that shines with all his greatness in the reservoir of Lareo. The landscape is dotted with numerous herds that graze in the meadows, with their embroidering characteristics, being Oidui the most representative of all. We direct us to Ordizia after going through Zaldibia, where we find one of the most important markets of the Basque Country. At the beginning of September, they are used to celebrate the Day of the Descent of Shepherds and the already famous auction of cheese.

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Idiazabal Is a place that perfectly combines history, tradition and gastronomic delights, offering its visitors an only experience in the middle of some exceptional natural surroundings. Submerge you in his charm, explore his footpaths, taste his cheeses and leave you spend by the magic of this only corner in the heart of Guipúzcoa. It discovers the true flavor of the Basque tradition in each corner of Idiazabal and spends with you a little bit of its essence in each bite of Idiazabal cheese that you enjoy!

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Irene was born and raised in Bilbao. She has a deep rooted passion for her country and culture. She has a Bachelors degree in education and has traveled to over 85 countries throughout the world.
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Zachary was born in Michigan, USA. He has lived in the Basque Country for over 10 years, and fell in love with the natural beauty and quality of life found here. He earned a Bachelors degree in economics from DePaul University in Chicago.

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