Have you tried all 48 of these European cheeses?

PUBLISHED: 16:19 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 03 May 2017

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto


Halloumi, edam, camembert? Which is your favourite European cheese?

1) Afuega’l Pitu, Spain

Its name is derived from the local Asturian dialect and means “choking cake”, because its unusual texture can make it stick to the palate

2) Almnäs Tegel, Sweden

Its distinctive “slab” shape is an homage to the bricks used to build the manor house on the farm where it was first made. As the bricks were left to dry in the sun, local children played on them, starting an association which saw the shape become a symbol for the farm

3) Beemster, Netherlands

Its specific taste is a consequence of the mineral-rich farmland of the Beemster polder, drained by dyke and windmill in the early 1600s. Only milk from local cows goes into the cheese, for which the stirring process is done by hand

4) Brânzaă de burduf, Romania

In some areas it is matured in a sheep’s stomach, although more commonly it is wrapped in pine bark, thereby giving it a pine resin flavour

5) Caciocavallo Podolico, Italy

Produced from a rare breed of cow which supplies milk only during May and June. Caciocavallo’ literally means ‘horse cheese’

6) Cabrales, Spain

A blue cheese made from the milk of cows from the Asturias region. It is left to age in natural caves in the area’s limestone mountains. Traditionally, the cheese was sold wrapped in the leaves of sycamore maple trees

7) Camembert, France

A common addition to French troops’ ration packs during the First World War, securing the cheese’s place in the country’s culture

8) Casu marzu, Italy

Translates as “rotten cheese”. A traditional Sardinian cheese notable for containing live maggots. The larvae of the cheese fly are added to allow acid from their digestive systems to break down the cheese’s fats. Locals consider it unsafe to eat once the larvae have died, so it is served while translucent white worms, about 8mm long, are still squirming. Some remove the maggots. Others do not. Care is needed when eating, as the worms can jump up to 15cm

9) Cherni Vit, Bulgaria

A green mold cheese, it takes its name from the village where it is made. By the early 2000s, production had stopped and it had all but disappeared. However, it was then rediscovered and popularised by the “Slow Food” movement, which encourages local cuisine. The region’s significant changes in temperature, between day and night, are said to be one factor in its distinctive taste

10) Edam, Netherlands

Known for its hard wax coating, this made it a useful food for German soldiers in the trenches in the First World War, and it is mentioned in the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, where the main character considers the red covering to be a sign of death. According to legend, the cheese was used as a substitute for cannonballs in an 1841 battle between Montevideo and Buenos Aires

11) Emmental, Switzerland

Its characteristic holes are caused not by mice, but by the presence of tiny bits of hay present in the milk, scientists believe. An earlier theory is that they were produced by carbon dioxide, released by bacteria. Historically, the holes were a sign of imperfection

12) Epoisses de Bourgogne, France

A cheese so smelly it is said to have once been banned from public transport. One of Napoleon’s favourites, it is extremely pungent at the best of times. If it smells too strongly of ammonia, it is no longer edible. In the 1990s, some listeria cases in the US – including two fatalities – were linked to the cheese, although in a “rogue” form – not made by approved manufacturers

13) Feta, Greece

The word comes from the word for “slice”, and is derived from the Latin, offa, for a “morsel”

14) Fynbo, Denmark

Named after the island of Fyn, it gets a mention in Monty Python’s cheese shop sketch – along with 42 other varieties

15) Gamalost, Norway

Translates as “old cheese”. Like many traditional Norwegian foods, it could be stored for long periods without refrigeration

16) Gbejna, Malta

Once associated with the spread of Brucellosis – a disease endemic on the island until the early 20th century and often known, simply, as Maltese Fever

17) Geitost, Norway

A brown cheese, with sweet caramel-like flavour which, when sliced open, looks like a bar of chocolate

18) Gorgonzola, Italy

Named for the Italian town (now effectively part of Milan) where it has been produced for centuries. However, other areas have also staked a claim for it

19) Gubbeen, Ireland

Its name is an anglicisation of “Gobín” which means a small mouthful

20) Halloumi, Cyprus

Its high melting point means it can easily be fried or grilled. Efforts to get the cheese protected status in the EU have been delayed by disputes over whether it can contain cow’s milk

21) Herve, Belgium

Like many made close to Europe’s west-facing coasts, this cheese is encased in an edible washed rind. Such climates can ruin hard cheeses and rind washing began as a precaution against that

22) Jani, Latvia

Made from raw quark (a type of soft cheese) and fresh milk, with caraway seeds. It is traditionally eaten on Jani, the Latvian celebration of the summer solstice

23) Korbáčik, Slovakia

A string cheese, woven into fine braids, giving it its name, which translates as “little whip”

24) Leipäjuusto, Finland

Traditionally made from cow’s beestings – rich milk from an animal that has recently calved. Reindeer or goat milk can also be used. It is often eaten with coffee, or even in coffee

25) Livno, Bosnia and Herzegovina

When the region fell under Austro-Hungarian rule after the 1878 Congress of Berlin, efforts were made to improve its agricultural output. An agronomist was recruited from France, and Livno cheese was the result of his experimentations

26) Lüneberg, Austria

Made in the mountains of western Austria. In taste, it is said to be half way between Emmental and Limburger

27) Maroilles, France

First made by monks in northern France more than a thousand years ago, it became a favourite of several kings. Sold in rectangular blocks

28) Meshchersky, Russia

Invented in the late 19th century by Swiss experts working on Russian estates. It disappeared after the Russian Revolution, when cheesemaking died out, as foreign producers fled the Bolsheviks. There are hopes of reviving the product, as part of a wider Russian cheese revival, prompted by a ban on the importation of European dairy products, introduced as a response to sanctions over its operations in Ukraine

29) Milbenkäse, Germany

Made from allowing quark to sit amongst thousands of dust mites. These excrete an enzyme which ripens the cheese. The technique was almost lost in the 1970s, with only one maker who had the required knowledge. He passed it on, though, and the tradition has been revived

30) Moose cheese, Sweden

Made from moose milk. A farm in the Bjurholm region – where moose are common – is thought to be the world’s only producer

31) Morbier, France

Visually quite distinguishable from other cheeses thanks to the fine black layer running horizontally through it. Traditionally, the cheese consists of a layer of morning milk and a layer of evening milk, and the line was ash, spread over the lower layer, to protect it. It now tends to be made from a single milking, and the ash line has been replaced by vegetable dye

32) Mozzarella, Italy

Traditionally made from Italian buffalo milk. Fresh mozzarella is usually served the day after it is made, though can be kept in brine for longer

33) Olomouc, Czech Republic

Named for the city where it was first made. It contains only 0.6% fat. An ice cream based on the cheese has also been produced

34) Oscypek, Poland

Sheep milk is first turned into cottage cheese, then rinsed with boiling water and squeezed. It is then pressed into wooden, spindle-shaped forms with decorative shapes. These are then put in brine-filled barrels, then removed and placed in special wooden huts where they are cured in hot smoke

35) Pag, Croatia

Made on the island of Pag, in the Adriatic. Until the early 20th century, islanders milked their sheep and made the cheese in characteristic dry stone huts, built on rocky hills above the pastures

36) Parenica, Slovakia

Takes its name from the word for “steaming”, the process used in its production. It is made into strips, which are then woven into snail-like spirals

37) Parmigiano Reggiano, Italy

Strict rules stipulate a minimum of 12 months’ aging, although the cheese can improve for up to 3 years

38) Passendale, Belgium

One of the country’s best known cheeses. In appearance, it resembles a large round loaf of bread

39) Pont l’Eveque, France

Possibly the oldest Norman cheese still in production and an absolute stinker. Its smell has been described as “fecal”. Mmmm

40) Pule, Serbia

Made from the milk of donkeys in a Serbian nature reserve, it has been described as the world’s most expensive cheese, at up to 1,000 euros per kilogram. Twenty five litres of fresh donkey milk are needed to make a single kilo. Since donkey milking machines are not produced commercially, the females – or jennies – must be milked by hand three times a day. The cheese is only made on one farm – which also produces donkey milk soap. In 2013 Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic bought up the farm’s entire stock of cheese for the year

41) Requeijão, Portugal

A loose cheese, used to make spreads. Its consistency varies from creamy solid, to liquid

42) São Jorge, Portugal

Made in the Azores, since Flemish colonisers took cheesemaking skills to the islands in the 17th century. The archipelago’s high humidity, volcanic soils and year-round warm temperatures are ideal for milk-producing herds. The cheese, however, is made only in summer

43) Škripavac, Croatia

The word derives from the local word for “squeaky”, and is so named because of the sound it makes when chewed

44) Sulguni, Georgia

A pickled cheese, which ranges in colour from white to pale yellow. It is often deep-fried

45) Tilsit, Germany

Swiss cheesemakers were among those who settled in the former German province of East Prussia – now part of Russia. They did not have exactly the same ingredients as those they had used back in Switzerland, but used similar techniques – producing a distinctive, more intense taste. Tilsit, the town they settled in, is now called Sovetsk. The cheese it gave its name to is now made in Switzerland

46) Tronchón, Spain

Noted for its distinct shape, a large “wheel” with two concave “craters” on either side. It is referenced twice in Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote

47) Valençay, France

A goats-milk cheese, with a distinctive truncated pyramid shape. An apocryphal tale holds that this is a consequence of Napoleon, returning from his disastrous Egypt campaign, and calling at Valençay, where the sight of the pyramidal cheese brought back unpleasant memories - prompting him to cut the top off one with a sword. In fact, the shape is down to its setting mould, which give the optimal dimensions for draining

48) Zamorano, Spain

Typically aged for about six months, the cheeses are turned often and rubbed with olive oil, to get a characteristic dark colour

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