About ten years ago (my, how time flies), we wrote about the international reach of the Itsasmenikoi Artzain Eskola in Arantzazu, Gipuzkoa. Since 1997, this school has been training young people who want to be sheepherders or goatherders. Now, after merging with IKT and the Kalitatea Foundation, it’s a part of HAZI, which was created with the goal of promoting competition and sustainability in the primary sector, food, and and the rural and coastal areas of the Basque Country.
Now, this sheepherders’ school is the reason why, in the middle of Chile’s Patagonia, a local sheepherder is making sheep’s milk cheese from Latxa sheep under the name “Chilozabal”.
Rafael Maripán is a local sheepherder who, fifteen years ago, set off on this great adventure to produce cheese in southern Chile with the same techniques and raw materials used by Basque producers to make Idiazabal cheese, which he discovered, along with how to make it, while he was studying at the Itsasmendikoi Artzain Eskola.
It turns out that the area in Patagonia where he lives has a similar climate to our country’s, and what’s more, the latxa sheep, the Basque breed of sheep whose milk is used to make Idiazabal, has already acclimated well to the area.
He now produces about 800 kg of his Cilozabal cheese, which have already been reserved and will soon be delivered to the best restaurants in Chile.
So, that is now two replicas of Basque products that can be found in South America: latxa sheep’s milk Idiazabal and txakoli (which we also spoke about eleven years ago).
This may have something to do with what Miguel de Unamuno famously said: “The Society of Jesus and the Republic of Chile are the two greatest feats of the Basque people”.
We found this report on Diario Lechero, a Chilean outlet specializing in news of interest to the dairy sector. They’ve published this news item with an excellent video report.
Diario Lechero – 15/6/2021 – Chile
El productor chilote que apostó por el queso de oveja
El productor ovino radicado en Ancud, hace quince años se propuso crear la versión chilota del milenario queso Idiazabal, símbolo y orgullo del País Vasco. La gran calidad de su producto y el interés que despierta su origen patagónico, ha llevado a su queso de oveja, elaborado bajo la marca Chilozabal, ha cosechar elogios en los círculos gastronómicos más exigentes, recibiendo incluso la aprobación de importantes chef y maestros queseros del País Vasco.