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The best cheeses in the world: a list of the most appreciated in Europe

It’s almost a universal truth: everyone loves cheese. And it is not new that Europe makes some of the best in the world. That’s where millenary cheeses come out, invented centuries ago by monks, or that make appearances in classical literature, or those that still have intentionally challenging names to encourage people to try.

There are cheeses that don’t smell very good, cheeses with added ash, cheeses made in ways that can turn your stomach, and some of the most expensive cheeses on the planet. Everyone has their favorite cheese, of course, but check out this selection from CNN international.

Grana Padano

Everyone knows Parmesan, of course, but you might not be that familiar with Grana Padano. Like Parmesan, it comes from Emilia Romagna in northern Italy; and it also has a nutty flavor, hard flaking texture, perfect for spreading on salads or grating on noodles. It’s usually a little cheaper than parmesan – in fact, what you might think of as parmesan might be grana padano, which has a slightly milder flavor. That doesn’t mean it’s not good – try it in chunks, to enjoy the grainy texture, and sprinkle some chutney or jelly on top.

Gruyère

Sweet or salty? With gruyère, you get both – plus a distinctive nut that takes the sweetness a little further. Made in Switzerland – the village of Gruyères itself enjoys protected status for its cheese – it’s one of Europe’s most loved, working perfectly with chutney or jam, or incorporated into recipes (even simple ones like a croque monsieur).

star saw

This cheese appreciated by the Portuguese is classified as an endangered product by the Slow Food movement and has been protected by the EU. This means that it can only be done in a small area of ​​the mountainous region of Serra da Estrela, and producers have to follow strict procedures. Made during the winter months with sheep’s milk, it is an excellent cheese in terms of flavour.

Halloumi

If you’ve ever been to Greece, you’ve probably already had the pleasure of eating halloumi: salty, rubbery and grilling cheese to perfection. Often mixed with sheep’s and goat’s milk, halloumi originated in Cyprus but is now a staple food throughout Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Grill until brown and crunchy on the outside for the best experience.

Cheddar

You might think you know cheddar – but the cheap, insipid things you often find in supermarkets aren’t real cheddar. The real cheddar – from the city of the same name in the southwest of England -, is an extremely round cheese that combines brilliantly alone, with chutney, in recipes or in a simple sandwich. It’s no wonder that more than half of the cheese sold in the UK is cheddar.

Manchego

This is the king cheese of Spain for a reason: spicy without being overly spicy, hard but with a very crumbly edge, and a perfect match with quince jam. Even Cervantes conferred the name on “Don Quixote”, such is its popularity. Made with unpasteurized sheep’s milk, it is cured for a few months to a few years – the longer it gets, the more bitter it gets.

Morbier

The gray stripe in the center makes Morbier one of the prettiest cheeses on our list. This is actually gray – spread over the first layer before adding the second. Morbier is smooth and creamy, with a slightly bitter taste.

Bitto

This 2,000-year-old cheese, made in the Orobic Alps of northern Italy from cow’s and goat’s milk, is an endangered product that often costs more to make than the retail price. They can be aged for up to 10 years – and yield some of the highest prices on the planet for cheese.

Havarti

It’s not just halloumi that grills well. Havarti softens beautifully under a grill and also does well with sliced ​​cheese. Smooth and semi-hard in taste, it is named after Havartigården, the farm owned by Hanne Nielsen, who sailed through Europe to learn the best cheese-making techniques, before returning to Denmark and creating his own using local milk.

Wensleydale

Cheddar may be the most famous cheese in the UK, but few Brits would live without Wensleydale. Especially around Christmas time, when Wensleydale, stuffed with cranberries, is almost a must on cheese platters. Made by monks in northern England since the medieval period, its mild flavor and crumbly texture have made it one of the most popular cheeses in the country – it’s even the favorite cheese of cartoon characters Wallace and Gromit.

In Yorkshire (where it originates), Wensleydale can be eaten with fruitcake.

Cabrales

There is the blue cheese, and then the Cabrales, coming from Asturias, in northern Spain, and aged in caves for up to five months. Particularly spicy – ​​thanks to its blue-green veins and goat’s milk mixed with cow’s and sheep’s milk – it’s semi-hard, very salty and super delicious. Enjoy it on toast – in 2019, a four-pound wheel of Cabrales was sold at auction for $22,890, making it the most expensive cheese in the world.

County

If you think it tastes like Gruyère, you’re right – it’s made in the Franche-Comté region of France, which borders Switzerland, and is also known as Gruyère de Comté. Again, it’s sweet but nutty, with a good salty feel, and the consistency is just as hard. However, devotees of both would suggest that Comté is a little creamier.

Pecorino romano

This is another of Italy’s versatile cheeses. Like Parmesan and Grana Padano, it is usually grated to sprinkle on the dough, but while the other two are walnuts, pecorino tastes like salt. It can be made in different areas – Sardinia makes a great Roman pecorino, as does Lazio, where it originated – but it is always made with sheep’s milk and is always hard and full of saltiness. Rome’s famous pasta dishes, gricia and amatriciana, use pecorino.

Bryndza

A crispy, spicy white cheese, Bryndza may be better known as coming from Slovakia, but it is consumed throughout the Carpathian Mountain region. Its slightly sour flavor makes it an excellent complement to dishes – such as bryndzové halušky, a popular Slovak dumpling dish.

Gouda

The Netherlands is known for its cheeses – the weekly cheese market in Alkmaar, which recreates traditional weighing and transport, is one of the country’s must-see sights. There you’ll find the counters full of Gouda, perhaps the most famous Dutch cheese. Bright orange in color, it has been made since the medieval period (the first written reference to it is from 1184). It can be aged for anything from a few months to a few years, and while younger cheeses are softer and have a sweeter taste, the older they age, the harder and more nutty they get.

Callu de Cabrettu

You’ve probably heard of Casu Marzu, the most dangerous cheese in the world – but it’s unlikely you’ll buy it, as it’s banned for sale. Instead, try this goat cheese, also made in Sardinia. Cheese is made from the stomach of a lamb, still filled with its mother’s milk. The stomach is tied up, hung and allowed to age naturally until it becomes a pungent, almost creamy cheese. A cheese for diehard fans.

Metsovone

You know all about feta, of course; now it’s time to try a lesser known Greek cheese. Mesovone comes from the north of the country, or more precisely, from a mountain town called Metsovo. Made with cow’s milk, pure or mixed with sheep or goat, it is semi-hard and smoked naturally. Like that other Greek staple, halloumi, it tastes really good grilled.

Old Boulogne

This is considered the stinkiest cheese in the world – and, of course, that’s no small feat. Made in the northern coastal region of Pas-de-Calaise, France, since the 1980s, it is unpasteurized and unpressed, making it soft and smelly under its bright orange rind. Don’t forget to serve with a piece of baguette.

Jarlsberg

You might think that sweet cheese with big holes just means Switzerland and Switzerland, but Jarlsberg sweet nut is from Norway – although Swiss Emmenthal was introduced to the area in the 19th century, before Jarlsberg came along. It is also produced under license in Ireland and the United States – specifically in Ohio.

Gubbeen

Ireland’s best-loved cheese has a nice, wrinkled rind, a soft, semi-soft interior – and a mild, if slightly nutty, flavor. There is also a smoked version. In production, the bark is washed daily during the curing process.

Moena’s stink

The name means “The great stink of Moena”, and that should give you an idea of ​​how this cheese, from Trentino, in northern Italy, tastes. A traditional cheese of the Ladino people – a distinct ethnicity living in the Dolomites – was originally popular with farm workers who liked it to spice up their limited diet. Originally called Fassa Nostrano, its name was changed in 1974 after a radio broadcast. It is now popular with people who just want to eat it by name.

Lüneberg

The warm orange glow that this Austrian cheese gives off comes from the saffron it mixes with milk, taken from cows that graze in the mountain valleys around Voralberg in the west of the country. There is a strong Swiss influence in this area. The result? It tastes like a more fragrant Saffron Emmental.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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