Gaztañaditxulo farmhouse is located in a village called Idiazabal, in Goierri or the so called Basque Highlands, a natural environment surrounded by forests and meadows. That’s precisely the natural resource that ties us to our lifestyle: sheepherding
Keeping our ancestors’ mores and combining them with technological progress, our main goal is to obtain high quality milk, always in line with the bio-sustainability. While making each cheese, we hope the consumer to enjoy also the hard work, the effort and the lifestyle it carries in its taste.
We have made our lifestyle out from the ancestors’ work, maintaining the cultural heritage that remains alive from the Neolithic era and adapting it to the modern tools and resources. The work is carried out with modern resources, but we make sure to keep the essence of sheepherding, respecting the rhythm of animals and nature.
That’s why our sheep spend the winter within the law fields from lambs’ birth until they are barren. Instead in summer, we take them to the high fields where they graze on the high meadows, as the climatologic conditions of the mountain are necessary for their welfare. We have opted for an artisan production, discarding the industry and choosing a sustainable exploitation linked to grazing.
Our aim is to produce the best milk, taking advantage of the diverse flora of our meadows. That’s exactly the main resource we need to make high quality cheese, along with the welfare condition of the flock. The winter pastures are about 17 hectares and during the summer they graze in the local mountains: Atxurbi, Ormalatza and Hirumugata, which are located between Aralar and Aizkorri natural parks, a privileged environment. During summer, winter pastures are harvested for the winter feeding and needs. This form of cyclical work, transmitted between shepherds for centuries, is the origin of the present landscape.
Nowadays, we have a 350 latxa sheep flock. The latxa is one of the oldest breeds in Europe and is therefore a sheep well adapted to our terrain and climatology. It’s not accustomed to the stable, so it can’t be kept inside (except when the conditions don’t allow grazing in the meadow). The sheep bring us more than lambs and delicious milk: they also provide us the rennet. Our cheese is made with the rennet of our lambs.
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Our cheese has since 2009 the designation of origin Idiazabal, which certifies that it was made with raw milk from latxa sheep ewes and has all the guarantees of the Regulatory Council. We are also partners of Artzai-gazta, which demonstrates the artisan nature of our products.
Idiazabal is made out of raw (unpasteurized) latxa or carranzana sheep milk.
Our milk comes from the fine meadows that feed our flock, so that a good quality of the pastures assures us the optimum quality of the milk.
Our cheese is smoked in the same farm, using as resource the forest that surrounds it. We burn the alder of our forests to bronze and aromatize the cheese, giving it an added character.
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Gaztañaditxulo is 150 years old and has always been tied to sheepherding and agriculture. The actual project started in the old stable that was in the basement of the farm, but as long as the project gained strength, it was necessary to build a new shed to ensure the welfare of the herd. We try to maintain the original facilities of the farmhouse, despite conditioning new spaces. One example is the borda or shepherd’s hut that is 200 meters up from the farmhouse and is still used as a stable;
we have fixed the wooden structure to guarantee the old utility it had years before.
Gaztañaditxulo has been a base on which a whole life project has been built. Responding to a young man's dream of being a shepherd, it has been transformed and adapted for the activity. The unshakable slogan is an extensive and sustainable farm model; and so far, an empty building has been given an objective and a continuity.