Cheese Lover's Walking & Cycling Tours in Europe

The traditional way of melting Raclette cheese | Claudio Schwarz
The traditional way of melting Raclette cheese | Claudio Schwarz

Cheese Lover's Walking & Cycling Tours in Europe

People travel for all sorts of reasons: for new experiences, to discover cultures, to soak in views, to tick off European icons, to take great photos for Instagram... However one often overlooked, but very important, reason to travel is CHEESE!
 
As you well know, Europe is home to many delicious types of cheese. From the well-known mozzarella of Southern Italy to the distinctive Paski Sir hard cheese of Croatia. While it's possible to taste these European delicacies around the world thanks to globalisation, it's certainly a special sensation to eat a gourmet cheese in the setting it's meant for.
 
What better reason to pick your next walking or cycling holiday in Europe than based on what local cheeses are on offer?
 
In this article, you'll find a list of cheeses to make any turophile (cheese lover) happy, and the complementary walking and cycling trips to discover them.
 
 

Gruyère

Arguably the most famous cheese from Switzerland. It’s a hard, Alpine-style cheese named after the town of Gruyères in the Swiss canton of Fribourg. These are best for melting.
 
The delicious Beaufort d'alpage cheese
 
A sub-category of Gruyère is Beaufort cheese, both of which can be tasted on a Tour du Mont Blanc hike.
 
Cheese display in the Beaufort Valley France |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Walking through the Valley of the Glaciers its worth stopping for a visit to the local cheesemaker |  <i>Kate Baker</i> Beaufort, a local delicacy from the Haute Savoie region of France
 
 

Havarti

Havarti hails from Denmark and is made from whole cow's milk. It has a fresh, creamy, milky flavour and can be paired with pretty much anything.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by @iloveimportedcheese

 
 
 

Raclette

‘Racler’ means to scrape in French, and scrape is just what you do with this alpine cheese. It's best eaten after being scraped onto potatoes or bread. It’s crafted from raw cow’s milk cheese, meaning it hasn’t been pasteurised. Try this warm and hearty cheese while hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc. 
 
The traditional way of melting Raclette cheese |  <i>Claudio Schwarz</i>
 
 

Manchego

It’s a semi-hard, waxed cheese from Spain, specifically the La Mancha region which is between Madrid and Valencia. Manchego is easy to spot as it has a distinct basket pattern on it. It’s made from pure sheep's milk. It has been labelled with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, meaning manchego cheese can only come from this part of Europe.

Manchego cheese from Spain

> View walking & cycling trips in Spain
 
 

Gouda

No European cheese list would be complete without an offering from the Dutch. Gouda is made from sweet, creamy, yellow cow’s milk and is of a semi-hard to hard texture. It comes from the town of Gouda in Holland, which is pronounced How-da. Going to a cheese market in Gouda, in the Netherlands, is a must-do experience for all cheese lovers!
 
 
 

Brie

Brie, the ubiquitous disc of soft cheese, can be found around the world but it originally was produced in the region of Brie in France, which is north of Paris between the Seine and Marne valleys. We're not sure about this Scottish meal that features haggis and brie...
 
Haggis and brie |  <i>John Millen</i>
 
 

Camembert

Similar to brie, Camembert is a soft cheese known for its gooey buttery texture with a pungent aroma. It hails from the Normandy region in France.
 
Cyclists and pedestrians en route to Mont St Michel in Normandy |  <i>Kate Baker</i>
 

Gorgonzola

Have you ever smelt a word? We can with gorgonzola, the stinky blue cheese from Italy that is made from cow's milk. It is produced in the Lombardy region just northeast of Milan, so it's likely to be smelt while exploring Lake Como.
 
Gorgonzola from Italy
 

Roquefort

Possibly more pungent than gorgonzola is Roquefort, a blue-veined cheese from southern France. Unlike gorgonzola, Roquefort is made from sheep's milk. Authentic Roquefort cheese is also made on the French island of Corsica.
 
Roquefort cheese from France
 
 
 

Mozzarella

Mozzarella is the key ingredient in pizza, so it's no surprise it comes from Naples on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Mozarella is made from a water buffalo, traditionally the Mediterranean water buffalo. If it’s made from cow's milk it’s called fior di latte.
 
Delicious pizza topped with mozzarella |  <i>Jaclyn Lofts</i>
 

Ricotta

The word ricotta derives from the Italian word 'ricotta', which means 'recooked'. It's actually not technically a cheese, more just the whey from sheep, buffalo, goats or cows milk. It was originally produced in the Italian island of Sicily. Delicious.
 
[EDIT: We heard from former dairy worker Ron, who explained the ricotta-making process in a more technically correct way. Thanks Ron!: You acid coagulate the protein in milk to make cheese from the curds. But 10-20% of the protein stays behind in the whey. This protein can be heat coagulated and when it separates off it is called Ricotta. Great article. Heading off to France very soon to cycle ....... and eat cheese!]
 
Divine ricotta dish with tomato salad toppings
 
 

Mascarpone

Double or triple creamed cheese from the Lombardy region in Italy. It's no surprise it's an invention from the Renaissance era given its luscious, creamy, silky and decadent taste. Mascarpone is a staple ingredient in Italian desserts such as tiramisu.
 
Dining on fresh tiramisu in Italy
 
 

Feta

Feta is an icon of the Mediterranean, specifically Greece. It was originally made exclusively from goat or sheep's milk, but nowadays can be made with cow's milk. It's packed and aged in salt brine, allowing it to keep for a long time in warmer climates. Best served with olives, even better when cycling and sailing around the Greek Islands!
 
A local specialty: baked feta cheese with watermelon jam |  <i>Tom Panagos</i>
 
 

Halloumi

Halloumi, also known as the 'squeaky cheese' is a semi-firm fresh cheese made from goat and sheep cheese. Its country of origin is Cyprus. Delicious!
 
Fried halloumi from Cyprus
 

Paski Sir

Croatia is home to the salty Paski Sir cheese, which is a regional cheese made on Pag island. Paski Sir gets its distinct flavour because on Pag, sheep graze on fields of wild sage which infuses the milk with a fragrant and fresh aroma. Buy it locally from roadside vendors.
 
 
  

  
WOW - who's hungry? Do you have any other types of cheese to add to the list? If so, let us know in the comment section below.
  
  
Don't forget to share this article with a fellow cheese lover!
  
Cheese, Cheese walking tours, Cheese cycling tours, European cheese, Cheese lovers

Comments (2)

Ron Brooks

Great cheese article. Loved reading it. It brought back happy memories of Holland, Italy, France, Spain, Mongolia. I'm a Manchego fan but also adore Roquefort & hard Italian cheeses. We also loved the aged Gouda which tends not to be seen in Australia very much. We have headed off every year (apart from Covid years) for European cycling trips and would not dare measure our cholesterol levels when we return. Cheese from unpasteurised milk is so much better. Can I just say that I don't totally agree with your ricotta description. I have worked in the dairy industry. You acid coagulate the protein in milk to make cheese from the curds. But 10-20% of the protein stays behind in the whey. This protein can be heat coagulated and when it separates off it is called Ricotta. Great article. Heading off to France very soon to cycle ....... and eat cheese.

last month
William from UTracks

Appreciate hearing it Ron! Gorging on cheese is such an integral part of travelling Europe and we certainly miss it when we're not in Europe (especially the local prices!).

Thank for the advice on ricotta...I've edited it accordingly. I'm no match for an expert, I just like eating it :-)

Enjoy cycling France!

Cheers,
William from UTracks.

last month
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