If slabs of sharp, crumbly, mouldy and creamy dairy are your thing, you’ll be booking your flights more quickly than it takes to make a toasted cheese sandwich.
Do you love cheese and have an adventurous spirit that could be considered a death wish? If so, this location is perfect for you. For decades, the town of Brockworth in Gloucestershire have been gathering at the very steep Coopers Hill to watch brave folk chasing a large wheel Double Gloucester cheese as it rolls down the hill. The first person over the finish line wins the cheese. Funny as it sounds, it’s no joke – ambulances wait at the bottom of the hill for those who’ve thrown themselves after the cheese too enthusiastically and require hospital treatment.
Poutine (an ensemble of chips, cheese curds and gravy) is one of the most quintessential Canadian foods, and it was invented in Quebec in the 1950s. With a festival celebrating the moreish dish every year, and a place on every corner selling heaving platefuls of the stuff, it’s the best place to go to put on some winter padding against the cold.
This is the home of raclette – the meltiest, creamiest cheese dish around. To make the dish, a large piece of semi-soft, salty cheese (also called raclette, and native to Valais) is melted over a flame, then scraped onto a plate. It’s served with small cooked potatoes, charcuterie and pickles. If you travel to Valais, you’ll get the chance to eat this delectable dish in its mountain home.
Not only is this city the namesake of the famous cream cheese, it’s also home to the Philly Cheese Steak, a paean to the culinary achievements found in improvisation. The dish consists of a soft white roll split lengthways and stuffed with thinly sliced grilled beef and melted cheese. Onions, peppers and mayonnaise are common additions. It was created when a hot dog vendor decided he was bored of selling sausages and created a new sandwich instead. Vendors and restaurants throughout the city sell the sandwich, which is juicy, meaty and delicious.
You only come to Normandy for one reason: Camembert (as well as the picturesque historical towns, lots of history and gorgeous beaches, of course). The landscape seems tailor-made for producing cheese, with plenty of grass for cows to graze. Camembert has been made here since the 18th century, and while it’s great eaten raw, it’s amazing when baked in the oven and used as a dip for crusty bread. If you’re a huge fan of the cheese you can also visit the Camembert Museum, built in the shape of a wheel of Camembert and filled with facts about the cheese.
Reggio Emilia, Italy
This Italian town is home to everyone’s favourite thing to grate over their pasta: Parmigiano Reggiano. It was first produced in this province in the Middle Ages, and has been made there ever since. You can tour the buildings where Parmigiano Reggiano is aged, see how it’s made and, of course, eat plenty of it with good wine and charcuterie.
Pag Island, Croatia
As soon as you get off the boat when you arrive on this island you’ll see the reason that you came. Sheep graze all day near the shoreline and are milked every couple of days to produce the hard, salty and tasty Pag cheese. When you visit, you can graze on the cheese all day as the sheep graze on the grass.
Oaxaca are small, soft balls of cheese that is mild and salty. Found in markets and food stalls, it’s the perfect snack to get you through the hot Mexican days. It has a delicious piquant taste and the stringy texture of mozzarella once melted. Munch on this cheese while you stroll through the picturesque town, admiring the unusual green colour of the buildings (they’re made from volcanic stone).
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
As well as being home to the second cheese museum on this list, Amsterdam is filled with excellent cheese markets to get hold of the freshest, tastiest dairy products. You can learn about the 600 years of Dutch history behind Gouda, Edam and Leerdammer, and then go to taste and buy them in the markets. Just made sure you don’t walk into a canal in while having a cheese fever dream.
Yes, you read that right. Cheddar is an actual town in the UK, and if you’re a fan of the sharp, crumbly cheese, you should already be on your way there right now. As well as visiting the myriad cheese shops, you can explore Cheddar Gorge, a British landmark that has both huge cliffs and incredible subterranean caves with stalactites. Even the town signs will provide Instagram-bait. How many people know that there’s an actual town called Cheddar?
Waikato, New Zealand
Fertile soil, green grass and a longstanding farming heritage make this area of New Zealand cheese central. You can tour the factories of two award-winning local cheese companies, stroll around farmers’ markets sampling the wares and even take courses on how to make your own cheese.