Grated, chopped or sliced. Salty, firm and elastic or sweet and soft in texture, cheese is one of the most varied of the culinary delights and depending on where are you in the world, the cheese takes on different processes, flavours and scents, making the cheese of a region part of the land it hails from.
If you’re going to take a holiday, why not indulge on specatcular cheese? Cheese lovers unite and take Opodo’s tour of cheeses from around Europe. From France, Italy, Spain and other locations, find out how these countries showcase their soil and cheese traditions.
If cheese had its official capital, it might just be France. With more than 1,000 varieties, France tempts travellers with an extremely wide range of cheese flavours that highlight the different regions and their crafting traditions. Each meticulously crafted cheese correlates very distinctly to a region, with the trade being passed down from generation to generation, making this artisan skill a pride for the inhabitants of each area.
Let’s start our tour of Europe and cheese with three of the most popular French cheeses: Roquefort Aveyron, the Jura County and Camembert de Normandie.
Holland has been known for their cheese longer than it has been for their tulips! The cheese artisans of this region date back to production in the sixteenth century with Dutch farmers using the milk from their dairy cows to produce excellent cheeses. Quality soil, grass and water all make up small guarantees of the quality of the cheese in Holland.
It is therefore natural that our gastronomic route take us to the Netherlands, to discover Gouda and Edam, or the less known Leyden, which is flavoured with cumin.
With the special mountain landscape, it is almost impossible to cultivate cheese in the area, which is why farmland has always been devoted to the cheese-making process and the dairy industry. There are in fact, close to 450 different cheeses in Switzerland with 80% of the cheeses crafted for export.
Let’s continue the tour where the Gruyere and Emmental reign supreme. Indulge and discover an amazing specialty, the monk’s head cheese.
Privy to a diverse climate and nourished terrain, Italy is extremely rich in good quality food products with a protected designation of origin, which also includes their cheeses. The variety is steep here as well, with close to 400 different types of cheese being crafted in Italy. Many of these cheeses, however, are produced and consumed locally in very small mountain valleys.
Let’s head to the south of Europe, with superb (and world-renowned) Italian cheeses like Mozzarella , Ricotta and Pecorino. Andiamo!
There is a long and delicious history of cheese in Spain, of which is proven by archaeological finds: A strainer dating back to 2000 BC for example, has been presented to the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid. Moreover, the strong Celtic, Roman and Arabic in the Spanish cheese culture has also enriched many, thanks in particular to the monasteries along the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
We’re sure the Manchego has a place in all cheese-loving hearts, but do you know some of the other Spanish variety of cheeses? We present two very original varieties: “tetilla”, which is shaped like a breast and another very creamy variety, called “Torta del Casar”.
Cheese has been a part of the Greek culture and heritage since the beginning of time. Homer in the Odyssey, references cheese, explaining that the Cyclops manufactured cheese in his den in front of Ulysses. Since then, the tradition developed, and Greece now produces nearly 180,000 tons of cheese, with over 60% being feta , its flagship product.
No, it’s not just about the delicious feta cheese in Greece. Let our tour take you into the discovery of the Mizithra and Manouri , two other very creamy and fresh cheeses.
We don’t know about you, but we are getting hungry. Bon appétit to all!