Cheese has a long, colorful history and, now, there are hundreds of mouth-watering varieties that have developed in regions influenced by their unique culture and environment. It has evolved over the years, with milk from cows, sheep, goats, or even moose being transformed into dairy products with different flavors, textures, and appearances. Gourmands will love visiting these regions with unusual cheese varieties that are truly out-of-this-world!
At $500 per pound, moose cheese (also known as elk cheese) is one of the most expensive cheeses in the world. This is because only one Swedish farm in the world produces this rare delicacy. You can actually tour the 59-acre farm that is part of The Elk House (Älgens Hus) in Bjurholm, Sweden. Afterwards, you can try moose cheese at the in-house restaurant. You'll be delighted to see that the moose cheese parfait is served with fresh raspberries and whipped cream.
VÄSTERNYLIDEN 23, 916 92 Bjurholm, Sweden
In Celtic, Bitto means "perpetual" and that certainly seems the case for this cheese variety that is aged for up to two decades! This rare Italian cheese is created from a mixture of cow’s milk and milk from the Orobica goat, a species that is found exclusively in the Northern Italian Alps. Bitto Storico is produced in the Valtellina Valley in Lombardy, Italy. The milk comes from cows that eat grass from high alpine meadows, imparting them with a unique flavor.
Via Nazionale, 31, 23010 Gerola Alta SO, Italy
Created in a region long known for its cheesemaking history, brie noir or black brie has a colorful history dating back to World War I. Back then, villagers in Seine-et-Marne, France, left deformed brie cheese wheels in their attics, aging them for up to two years until they became dark in color and developed its earthy, nutty, mushroomy, and acidic flavor. This French cheese became a staple for local laborers and for soldiers who fought valiantly in the trenches during World War I.
3 Rue de Pontmoulin, 77120 Coulommiers, France
Aging cheese in liquor is a centuries-old practice throughout Europe and a specialty of the Trappist monks in northern France. If you're looking for a "heavenly" cheese then this unique artisanal cheese is for you. Timanoix is a semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that is washed with walnut liqueur. The booze-washed cheese has an edible rind with a deep walnut flavor while the buttery center gets a sweet earthy flavor.
Timadeuc, 56580 Bréhan, France
Only one cave in the world is capable of creating the conditions necessary to produce the cave-aged Turkish cheese called Divle Obruk. In south-central Turkey, the villagers of Üçharman (formerly called Divle) have been creating this local tulum, the Turkish name for cheese aged in a sheepskin or goatskin sack. For centuries, they have followed the same process of aging the cheese within the cave that contains unique bacteria that are found nowhere else on the planet. Now that is one rare product!
Yeni, Üçharman Köyü Yolu, 70500 Üçharman/Ayrancı/Karaman, Turkey
If you're going bar hopping in Czechia, check the menu for Nakládaný hermelín, a form of pickled cheese that is a popular Czech bar snack. This soft cheese is marinated in oil with herbs and spices such as onions and chili peppers before being served with topinky (deep-fried bread made with garlic). For the perfect way to end your day, eat this pungent treat then wash it down with an ice-cold Czech beer. Bottom's up!
13, Zenklova 252, 180 00 Praha 8-Palmovka, Czechia