There are over 1800 different types of cheese, and they come in all different flavors, colors, textures and shapes. The most expensive cheeses in the world are costly because they take more time or effort to produce; others have a hefty price tag because they’re made from rare ingredients that cost more than normal cheese; while some cheeses are expensive simply because there’s not much supply to go around!

The global cheese industry is worth over $72 billion dollars. Cheese has been around for thousands of years, but in the last few decades cheese consumption has risen significantly.

In the cheese world you have your soft cheeses such as brie or camembert and hard cheeses like parmesan or cheddar. Artisanal cheese is made in small batches by hand. These traditional cheeses are crafted using time-honored techniques.

The best cheeses usually don’t contain unnecessary additives. These natural cheeses are also known as unprocessed cheese.

The Most Expensive Cheeses in the World

What is the most expensive cheese in the world? You might be surprised to find out that not all costly cheeses are made with cow’s milk. In fact, some of these cheeses are so expensive because they are made from goat’s milk or sheep’s milk.

If you’ve ever wondered why some cheese is expensive and others are not, the answer lies in its composition and production process. Some cheeses simply take longer to make than others.

For example, a cheddar cheese takes 2 months on average to mature, while a ewe’s milk cheese might need up to two years for this process! The price of these types of cheeses depends on how much time it will take to produce them and also their rarity.

The most expensive cheeses in the world
The most expensive cheeses in the world

That said, if you’re looking for something that’s less expensive but still has excellent flavor profile then try one of the many domestic cheeses in the United States such as Colby or Monterey Jack.

Serendipity3 restaurant in New York claims to serve the most expensive sandwich in the world costing $214. The Quintessential Grill Cheese sandwich contains one of the most expensive cheeses in the world, caciocavallo podolico, together with gold flakes, Dom Perignon Champagne and white truffle butter.

Pricey cheeses cost a lot because of the rarity and high quality of the ingredients used to make them. Here we explore the most expensive varieties of cheese on Earth.

16. Oaxaca Cheese

Oaxaca cheese is a type of Mexican cheese that is named after Oaxaca state in southern Mexico. It is a semi-soft, white cheese that has a slightly salty yet mellow taste.

Oaxaca cheese can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, and it is often paired with tomatoes, chilies, and avocados. Some of the most popular dishes that include Oaxaca cheese are enchiladas, quesadillas, and tacos.

Oaxaca cheese is made from cow’s milk and it has a high fat content. This artisan string cheese is available in both pasteurized and unpasteurized varieties.

Oaxaca cheese is one of the most expensive cheeses in the world. This luxurious cheese can cost up to $30 for a 2 pound pack.

Oaxaca cheese
Oaxaca cheese

15. Sbrinz AOP Swiss Cheese

Sbrinz AOP is a hard, Swiss cheese that has been around for centuries. It’s made from cow’s milk and has a nutty, fruity flavor.

Sbrinz AOP is perfect for melting and grating, and it goes great with wine or beer. Matured for a minimum of 18 months, it makes a great addition to any cheeseboard.

If you’re looking for an authentic Swiss cheese, Sbrinz AOP is the cheese for you! Sbrinz AOP cheese costs from $35 per pound.

Sbrinz cheese
Sbrinz cheese – Rebecca Wyrsch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

14. Vintage Cave Aged Gruyere Cheese

Aged for a minimum of 9 months in Alpine caves, vintage cave-aged Gruyere has a delicate and refined flavor. The cool temperature and humidity of the caves makes it an ideal environment in which to mature this cheese.

Made from cow’s milk, cave aged Gruyère has a nutty flavor and a slightly crumbly texture. it is a good choice for recipes that call for melted cheese, as its flavor will not be overpowered by other ingredients. Aged gruyere costs around $45 per pound.

13. Jasper Hill Farm’s Winnimere Cheese

Made in the Greensboro, Vermont in the United States, Jasper Hill Farm Winnimere Cheese is a soft, washed-rind cheese made from raw cow’s milk. This artisan cheese has a pungent aroma and a creamy, earthy flavor with hints of fruit.

Jasper Hill Farm Winnimere Cheese is aged for 60 days to develop its flavors fully. During this process, the young cheeses are wrapped in spruce strips from Jasper Hill Farm’s own woods. The cheese is then washed in a salt brine, which makes the rind even.

This tasty cheese is a good choice for cheese plates and can also be used in cooking. Jasper Hill Farm cheeses pair well with wines such as Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Noir. Winnimere costs $35 per pound.

Winnimere cheese from Jasper Hill Farm
Winnimere is one of the most expensive cheeses in the world

12. Gorau Glas Cheese

One of the most expensive cheeses in the United Kingdom is Gorau Glas. This soft blue cheese is made at Caws Gorau Glas Farm in Anglesey, Wales. It has a slightly salty flavor and a crumbly texture.

This rare cheese is often used in Welsh dishes such as cawl and rarebit. It can also be eaten on its own. Gorau Glas cheese costs $40 per pound.

11. Rogue River Blue Cheese

Founded by Tom Vella, Rogue River Creamery is an organic cheese producer based in Central Point, Oregon. The creamery use techniques and recipes from Roquefort, France to great effect.

In 2019, its organic Rogue River Blue cheese was declared World Champion at the World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy. It was the first ever American made cheese to win this award.

Produced from cow’s milk which ages in caves for 9 to 11 months, this seasonal limited edition cheese has a complex, nutty flavor. That’s due in part to the organic Syrah grape leaves soaked in pear spirit that are hand wrapped around each cheese wheel.

Rogue River Blue cheese costs $75 for a quarter wheel (around 18 oz).

10. Cacio Bufala

Hailing from Italy, Cacio di Bufala is a type of cheese that is made from full fat buffalo milk. This semi-hard cheese has a very creamy texture, and is often used in dishes like pasta or pizza.

Cacio Bufala cheese has a fine yellow rind and drum shape. It is generally aged in cellars or natural caves for 8 to 10 months. This delicious cheese can be found at specialty grocery stores, or online.

Prices for Cacio di Bufala cheese vary depending on the retailer but are around $43 per pound.

9. Beaufort d’Ete

This well-known and much-loved cheese is made in the Alps. Beaufort d’Ete is a hard cow’s milk cheese made in the Summertime only using milk from June to October.

Because Beaufort d’Ete is usually pressed, it has a solid structure with very few holes. The color of the cheese varies depending on how long it was aged, but it is usually pale yellow in color.

Beaufort d’Ete has a nutty flavor that intensifies as time passes. The cheese takes on the smell of the little mountain flowers that grow in between cracks in the Alpine rocks.

Only around 52,000 Beaufort d’Ete wheels are produced each year and the cost is around $44/pound.

Beaufort d'ete cheese
Beaufort d’ete cheese – Ibex73, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

8. Jersey Blue Cheese

Made with unpasteurized Jersey cow milk and a yogurt ferment, this popular cheese is produced in Lichtensteig in the St.Gallen canton of Switzerland. Award-winning cheesemaker Willi Schmid has created a creamy blue cheese with a dome shape.

Willi and his brothers own several herds of cows and he carefully selects the milk used in each batch of cheese. Once the cheese is produced, he gently squeezes the cheese wheels to give the blue vein structure below.

Jersey milk has a high beta carotene content and a soft, creamy taste. The price of Jersey Blue Cheese is $45/pound.

Jersey Blue cheese
Jersey Blue cheese – Softenpoche, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

7. Caciocavallo Podolico

Made from the organic raw milk of the Podolica cow, Caciocavallo Podolico is a rare Italian cheese. It has been produced in the Campania region of southern Italy since the 14th century.

The name caciocavallo means horse cheese and it’s thought that this may come from the way that these cheeses were originally transported on a horse down from the Italian alps. With an edible rind, this unusual cheese has flavors of berries and mountain grasses, which the cows feed upon in Summertime.

This Italian delicacy is a pasta filata cheese. This type of cheese has a stretched curd. Caciocavallo Podolico cheeses are tied to a beam with a rope to mature. Caciovallo cheese costs from $50 per pound.

Caciocavallo cheese
Caciocavallo cheese – Peachyeung316 via Wikimedia Commons

6. Extra Old Bitto Cheese

Also known as Bitto Storico or Bitto Ribelle cheese, this delicacy from the Valtelline valley in Lombardy, Italy can be aged for up to 18 years!

This makes it the oldest edible cheese in the world. The long aging is possible thanks to the inclusion of 10-20% goat’s cheese along with the cow’s milk.

The rich cheese has aromas of grass and hay and costs $150 per pound.

Bitto cheese
Bitto cheese – photo: Distretto Agroalimentare di Qualità della Valtellina

5. Wyke Farms Cheddar Cheese

Made to Grandmother Ivy’s secret recipe in Somerset, UK, Wyke Farms Cheddar Cheese is definitely worth trying if you can get your hands on it. This delicious semi-hard cheese is produced from fresh cows’ milk.

Wyke Farms has been making farmhouse Cheddar cheeses using traditional methods and only the finest ingredients for over 150 years. Each farmhouse cheddar is aged in special wooden boxes and regularly checked by their Master Cheese Grader.

This gluten free cheese matures for over 15 months. While some Wyke Farm vintage cheddar cheese can cost up to $200 per pound, they also sell some more affordable vintage cheese from $14 dollars.

4. White Stilton Gold Cheese

Known for their Stilton cheeses, Long Clawson Dairy have been going strong since 1911. Based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK, this farming cooperative crafts 100% British cheese.

A special edition by Long Clawson Dairy containing gold liqueur and real gold flakes, this cheese from Great Britain retailed for $420 per pound. The high price was due to the gold leaf and extra long ageing process.

These days, Clawson cheesemakers have a wide range of specialty cheeses including Rutland Red and Blue Shropshire. They also sell cheese cakes serving 40 to 160 people which are a fun feature for weddings or other special events.

3. Moose Cheese

This expensive cheese is made from moose milk from the Elk House farm or Älgens Hus in Swedish. It is thought to be the only place in the world that produces moose cheese.

The farm in Bjurholm, Sweden has three lactating moose and produces cheeses that you can try in the onsite restaurant. Visitors can also meet the tame moose on a guided tour.

Around 300 kilograms of moose cheese are produced here each year. The cost per pound is around $455.

A baby moose
A baby moose

2. Cabrales Cheese

Boasting the distinction of being the most expensive cheese sold at auction, Cabrales is an artisan blue cheese. This semi-hard cheese comes from the Valfriu cheese factory in Spain.

In August 2018, 15 restaurants bid on a 5.78 lb (2.62 kg) piece of Cabrales cheese at the Cabrales Cheese Competition. After 2 hours, the winning bid was an eyewatering $16,000.

This pricey cheese was bought by Ivan Suarez, owner of the Llagar de Colloto. He’s a big fan of Cabrales cheeses and serves them in his restaurant.

Cabrales cheese ages for 3 to 6 months in Spanish mountain caves. Shepherds on the Picos de Europa mountain range regularly turn the cheese in order to help it to maturate.

Cabrales blue cheese
Cabrales blue cheese – via Wikimedia Commons

1. Pule Cheese

Made from goat’s milk and the milk of Balkan donkeys, this unique dairy product tops our list of the most expensive cheeses in the world. Pule cheese costs from $600 to $700 per pound, but why is it so costly?

That’s because donkeys give very little milk and it takes 25 liters of donkey milk to make one kilogram of donkey cheese. This Balkan favourite has a very low fat content yet is high in protein, calcium and omega 3 acids. According to legend, Cleopatra bathed in donkey’s milk to beautify herself.

So although donkey milk is good for us, and is used in anti-ageing skincare as well as ice cream and cheese – it takes an extraordinary amount of donkey milk to make even a small amount of Pule cheese.

This crumbly white cheese has a very strong, herby flavor. If you’re travelling to Serbia or Montenegro, definitely try to get a taste of it!

Storing Your Expensive Cheeses

Cheese is composed primarily of fat and protein, which means it is very sensitive to heat, humidity and light. This makes the types of packaging used in supermarkets not fit for long-term storage. To ensure you get the most enjoyment out of your cheese, consider investing in a handcrafted cheese grotto.

Cheese does not need to be kept in the fridge if you know how to store it properly. Containers that are air-tight will keep out humidity, while opaque wrapping will shield cheese from light exposure.

Precious varieties can sit on the counter for up to three days, when wrapped tightly in plastic or wax paper. Cheese should be stored away from other smelly foods to prevent their aromas from permeating its delicate flavors.

In Conclusion: Most Expensive Cheeses

The most expensive cheeses in the world are not just for those with a healthy appetite and deep pockets. With proper storage, these delicacies can be enjoyed by cheese lovers for extended periods.

The high price tag of these cheese varieties is due less to their rarity than it is their exquisite flavor, which comes from sophisticated production methods that few other foods enjoy. If you’re looking for other great gourmet products, check out our next food feature on the most expensive spices in the world.

Read next: The Most Expensive Mushrooms in the World

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