Creamy or aged, orange or blue, artisan or not, cheese has been our silent companion for as long as history can recall.
Whether paired with a classy wine, a French baguette, an exquisite jamon, nuts and honey, or maybe grilled and unpretentiously topped on a sandwich, cheese remains one of the world’s most varied and versatile aliments, and an endless topic of fascination for enthusiasts from all over. Here are the world’s top destinations to indulge your passion for cheese.
The Netherlands’ Cheese Markets
The charming medieval cheese markets in The Netherlands are a feast for any cheese passionate out there. You’ll certainly have an excellent experience, filled with plenty of culture, entertaining, and, of course, cheese.
Undeniably the most famous Dutch cheese, Gouda can be savored in its entire splendor at the Gouda Kaasmarkt throughout the summer months, when farmers, Dutch Cheese Girls and Boys, as well as huge wheels of Gouda bring to life the fairytale-like city, offering visitors a genuine spectacle.
The 400-year old Alkmaar Cheese Market held each year between April and September on the Waagplein square is an equally delightful affair. Here you can combine a visit to the market with a pleasant sightseeing tour and even a stopover at the Dutch Cheese Museum, in the heart of the city.
Some of the world’s most iconic and adored fromage comes from France, where there’s also a cheese museum that’s in the shape of cheese. The Normandy region, where the museum is located, is also the birthplace of camembert. While visiting the village of the same name, you’ll get to sample the cheese at the local rural fromageries.
The Cheese Museum in Vimoutier will teach you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about camembert, including the manufacturing process and the history behind it. Plus, you’ll get lots of samples. This is definitely not the place for the lactose-intolerant!
Emilia Romagna, Italy
The northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna is the birthplace of Parmigiano Reggiano – the “King of all Cheeses”, which, together with Modena’s unparalleled balsamic vinegar, Parma’s famous ham, and Bologna’s patented delicacies, defines one of the finest gastronomic regions in Italy.
A visit here will offer you the opportunity to combine your passion for cheese with some fabulous sightseeing. Reggio Emilia, Modena, Parma, and Bologna, are all dotted with charming medieval and Renaissance marvels, and traditional “caseifici” (cheese factories).
The distinguished Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has its roots almost 8 centuries ago, and nowadays is still made using the same genuine time-honored methods. A visit to the Museum of Parmigiano Reggiano in Soragna will certainly be the highlight of your trip.
Bern Canton, Switzerland
Switzerland is, of course, famous for blessing the world with Swiss cheese. The classic kind that comes with the holes, Emmentaler, comes from the region of Bern Canton, taking its name from the valley of the river Emme. The most exported of all the Swiss cheeses, Emmentaler is made with raw alpine milk, giving it a distinctive flavor.
You can take a tour along the Emmentaler Cheese Route, which will allow you to meet several local cheesemakers while taking in the breathtaking countryside along the way. Definitely a treat for every cheese-a-holic!