A French Cheese Takes the Title

A French Cheese Takes the Title

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Esquirrou, the winning cheese, is made from the unpasteurized milk of black and red-faced sheep.

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Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

At the World Cheese Championships held last month in Madison, Wis., the grand prize winner was Esquirrou, a sheep-milk cheese from France’s Basque region. Despite the hundreds of cheeses produced in France, it was the first time a French cheese had been crowned. There were 3,402 cheeses in the competition. The cheese, made from the unpasteurized milk of black and red-faced sheep and aged for six months, has a pale amber rind and delivers a toasty brioche scent with herbaceous notes. Its texture is smooth, on the firm side; it has a lingering, nutty flavor; and it melts beautifully: $32 a pound at Dean & DeLuca stores in New York.

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