Top European Cheeses
As any cheese lover knows that Europe is the capital when it comes to cheese making. Therefore if you’re considering a European cheese tour, these are the top five that you need to make sure you try for yourself, because after all, tasting is believing.
Ahead of your trip to Europe, make sure you apply for your E111 renewal which will entitle you to free or reduced healthcare cover should you fall ill on your travels across the continent.
Valençay – France
It’s difficult to pick just one cheese from Europe’s most famous cheese-producing country but the French may be unbeatable when it comes to soft cheeses made from goat’s milk. Valençay is an example of lactic cheese which happens when yogurt is naturally strained and the lactic acids slowly cause the curse to set. This velvety cheese is very light with a citrus acidity and is often rolled in ash to create a white peppery flavour. Valençay comes in the shape of a decapitated pyramid due to the mould it sets in.
Parmigiano Reggiano – Italy
Like France, Italy are also big on their cheeses, after all what would a pizza or pasta dish be without cheese? The best cheese in Italy is without question Parmigiano Reggiano and not just an accompaniment to pasta. More than 3 million are made every year across 500 small artisan dairies that all meet a strict regulatory regime. A minimum of 12 months aging is required by their rules but the cheese can improve for up to three years. You can also go on guided tours of a number of the dairies in the Emilia-Romagna region.
Emmentaler – Switzerland
‘That Swiss cheese with the holes in it.’ Coloquially known incorrectly as Emmental in the UK, but Emmentaler is made all year round in the valleys of Käserei from Alpine cow’s milk in large rounds that weight around 265 pounds each. With a smooth texture and nutty flavour, particularly is the cheese is matured for at least a year. There is also an iPhone and Android app available to help tourists find the regions cheese sights.
Queso de la Serena – Spain
Queso is made in small quantities in the county of Extremadura, away from the cheese-making heartland of the country. Uniquely made from the unpasteurised milk of Merino sheep that graze La Serena’s herby pastures, the cheese is often smooth and creamy with hints of green grass, caramel, chestnuts and hazelnuts with a slightly bitter finish.
Bavarian Blue – Germany
Slightly similar to France’s Roquefort cheese, that was loved by creator Basil Weixler who decided to make his own version. Weixler’s technique involves mixing the moulds with the curd and is made from cow’s milk, unlike Roquefort that is made from sheep’s. Bavarian Blue is often smoother and creamier than the French Roquefort and is even mild enough to eat at breakfast.