Brebis au piment d’Espelette is a firm sheep’s milk cheese rubbed with pimento powder made in the Basques region of southern France. The pimento taste comes through as lightly fruity rather than piquant.
The cheese is made from milk from Manech and Basco-Béarnaises sheep. A small mount of ground red pimento is mixed in with the milk.
The curd is cut, moulded and pressed, then salted, and brushed with crushed smoked Espelette Chile Pepper powder, then aged for at least 3 months.
The cheese is about 25 cm wide by 9 to 15 cm tall (10 inches by 3 ½ to 6 inches). It will weigh 6 to 7 kg (13 to 15 ½ pounds).
Brebis au piment d’Espelette received European PDO status in 2002.