The ‘Otzara Goine’ cheese from Asteasu wins the award for the Basque Country’s best cheese at the ESNEKI trade fair


Tolosa was the epicentre and gathering place for dairy products on 3, 4 and 5 November thanks to the ESNEKI special trade fair, promoted by Tolosa Town Council and Eliker for the very first time, in conjunction with the Leartiker Dairy Centre, the HAZI Foundation, the Basque government and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.

This culinary event gave people the chance to discover and sample all types of cheeses and dairy products that are produced in the Basque Country. And this diversity was reflected in the number of attendees: over twenty producers set up stall in this special trade fair and the Basque Country’s first cheese and dairy product competition had a high number of entries: a total of 99 cheese and yoghurts.

The competition was split into fifteen categories and a jury composed of over 40 people from the world of gastronomy chose the champion of champions from the winners of each category. The ‘Otzare Goine’ cheese in the soft-paste cheese category, made by Goine Berria in Asteasu, was the winner of this top prize for the best cheese in the Basque Country. Jose Antonio Otegui Aldai could not hide his delight and excitement when he collected the trophy with his daughter.

The organisers were very pleased with the response received, describing this first edition of ESNEKI as a “success”. “The industry responded well, even though it’s not having the best of times. And that’s also important if we want to come out stronger. Cheese, dairy products, even milk are the mainstays of our diet, and we have to showcase them to keep it that way. And if you can enjoy yourself as you’re doing it, all the better” remarked Xarles Iturbe, the Councillor for Trade, Fairs and Tourism in Tolosa Town Council.


87 cows in the Friesian Cow Contest

The 13th Basque Friesian Cow Contest was also held at the trade fair, a competition that showcases the achievements made through genetic improvements and the cattle farmers’ daily work.

6 farms from the Basque Country and Navarra entered the competition, with 87 heads of cattle, and it was divided into eight sections, with four special prizes being awarded in addition to the top prize. The Grand Prize, the champion of champion of all cows, went to Planillo de Cascante.


Immersion into the world of dairy

In addition to the special trade fair and competitions, other types of activities were held at ESNEKI. For example, the guided tours of the Beotibar pelota court that were organised to allow people to try cheese from the Basque Country were a big hit and the tickets were sold out for every tour. Meanwhile, countless families came to the ‘Esnetan’ space on Paseo San Francisco, where they were able to learn how calves are fed, to distinguish between different types of milk and to discover the ins and outs of the process involved in creating dairy products.



Competition for all types of cheese and dairy products produced in the Basque Country

ESNEKI Grand Prize, Best Cheese from the Basque Country

The OTZARA GOINE soft-paste cheese by Goine Berria S.L. from Asteasu.

Winners of each category

Unripened cheeses and cottage cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Larreta

• Purchased milk production: Lactebal

Lactic cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Askibil Auntzai Leuna

• Purchased milk production: Ondare (Elkano)

Soft cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Otzara Goine

• Purchased milk production: Arpea Sheep (Agour)

Blue cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Soloitza Eskutxi

Hard cow cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Pirineki

• Purchased milk production: Smoked Cow (Agour)

Hard cow cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Remiro

• Purchased milk production: Smoked Sheep (Agour)

Hard goat cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Larruz Ahuntz Gazta

Cream cheeses

• Milk producer and processor: Txikiñena


• Milk producer and processor: Txikiñena

• Purchased milk production: Biointegra (traditional)


Grand Prize: Winning cow Planillo (Cascante)

Prize: Best Heifer Ardeo (Gatika)

Special Prize: Cow with best udders Planillo (Cascante)

Prize of honour: Best cattle farm Ardeo (Gatika)