10 Cheeses You Didn’t Know Were Named After Actual Places

Cheeses are more than just a daytime snack or fancy appetizer; they carry with them a rich cultural history and geographic identity.

Many of the most well-known cheeses are named after the place where they were originally made. This is often a testament to their cheese-making traditions and the uniqueness of the regional ingredients.

These cheeses can offer unique insight into a region’s geography, culture, and culinary identity.

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The connection between cheese and its place of origin is not only a matter of pride for the locals but also an aspect of authenticity and quality. With the production processes passed down through generations, certain regions have become known only for the cheeses they produce. This geographical branding has translated to a form of trademark for areas that wish to preserve the integrity and reputation of their dairy specialties.

In this list, you will find 10 kinds of cheese named after the places they came from, from well-known favorites like Cheddar and Brie to lesser-known cheeses like Edam and Camembert.


Origin: Camembert is a creamy, soft cheese named after the village of Camembert in the Normandy region of France. It is one of the most iconic cheeses of French gastronomy and has been produced since the 18th century.

Production: Traditional Camembert cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and uses a specific technique involving the addition of Penicillium camemberti mold. The mold helps to develop the cheese’s signature rind and contributes to its complex flavor.

  • Aging: Authentic Camembert is aged for at least three weeks. During this time, it is kept in cellars where the mold grows, forming a white, bloomy rind. The aging process allows the flavors to intensify and gives Camembert its characteristic rich, buttery texture.

Protected Designation: “Camembert de Normandie” is a protected designation that must adhere to strict production standards. These standards include being produced within the designated area using traditional methods. However, there is Camembert that does not meet these standards and is sold worldwide.

Tasting Profile: Camembert is known for its earthy, nutty undertones and soft, spreadable nature. Camembert pairs well with a variety of bread, fruit, and wine, making it a versatile choice for cheese boards.

Notable Fact: Camembert was the first cheese to be packed in a flat wooden box, a practice that began in the early 20th century. This not only aided preservation but also made it easier to transport the cheese over long distances.


Originating from the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, Cheddar cheese is arguably the most famous and widely consumed cheese in the world. Historically, this English cheese has been produced since at least the 12th century, and it plays a significant role in the cultural and culinary heritage of England.

Cheddar cheese is characterized by a unique production process known as “cheddaring,” which involves stacking blocks of curd on top of one another to expel more whey and achieve a firmer texture.

Texture and Aging:

  • The texture of Cheddar can vary widely from soft and pliable to crumbly and crystalline.
  • Aging is a critical determinant of flavor; Cheddar can be aged for several months to several years.

Flavor Profile:

  • Young Cheddar tends to be mild and creamy.
  • Aged varieties, often labeled as “mature,” can develop sharp, robust, and even earthy flavors.
Aging TimeTextureFlavor
3-6 monthsSoftMild, Creamy
1-2 yearsFirm, crumblySharp, Rich
2+ yearsHardComplex, Tangy

Cheddar cheese’s popularity led to its production in various other countries. However, the traditional West Country farmhouse Cheddar, produced in Somerset, enjoys a Protected Designation of Origin status, which preserves its geographical authenticity.


Gorgonzola is a rich Italian blue cheese with a distinctive character. This cheese is named after the town of Gorgonzola, located near Milan, where it was first produced. The cheese is renowned for its blue-green mold veins, which give it a sharp and specific flavor profile.

OriginGorgonzola, Italy
Cheese TypeBlue mold
TextureCrumbly or creamy
Milk SourceCow’s milk
Aging ProcessIn caves for 3-4 months

The cheese’s production process is meticulous. It ages in caves to encourage the growth of the Penicillium glaucum mold. The temperature and humidity in these caves are controlled to ensure consistent veining and texture of the cheese.

There are two types of Gorgonzola cheese:

  1. Gorgonzola Dolce: It is younger, has a softer texture, and a milder flavor.
  2. Gorgonzola Piccante: This variant is aged longer, resulting in a firmer texture and a more intense flavor.

Both types are versatile in culinary uses, appreciated for their ability to blend into creamy sauces or stand on their own on a cheeseboard.

Gorgonzola can be spread on bread, melted into risottos, or even crumbled over salads, offering a bold and characteristic Italian flavor to a variety of dishes.


Roquefort cheese, with its distinct blue veins, is a testament to the art of French cheese-making. It is protected by law, ensuring its production remains tied to its geographical origin.

Origin: Roquefot is a cheese from the village of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon in southern France. Its rich history and tradition have sustained it through centuries, making it an authentic heritage cheese.

Production: According to EU laws, authentic Roquefort can only be produced using the milk of the Lacaune breed of sheep. These sheep graze on the region’s lush, diverse flora, which contributes to the milk’s unique taste.

  • Caves: The cheese aging process takes place in the natural Combalou caves, which provide the perfect conditions—like temperature and humidity—essential for crafting the iconic Roquefort.

  • Protection: Roquefort has a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, meaning its production methods and region are legally defined and protected.


  • Texture: Creamy and moist
  • Flavor: Rich and tangy with a notable piquancy from the blue mold

Culinary Uses:
Roquefort is often crumbled over salads and steaks or spread on bread or crackers. With its robust flavor profile, it can elevate the simplest dish.


Originating from Switzerland, Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese that prides itself on a rich tradition dating back to the 12th century. Named after the town of Gruyères in the canton of Fribourg, it stands as a prime example of cheese named after a real place.

The cheese undergoes a meticulous aging process. This can span from five months to over a year. The longer it ages, the more complex the flavor profile gets.

The aging takes place in specialized caves or cellars, where the humidity and temperature are closely monitored. This carefully controlled environment is essential for the development of Gruyère’s unique taste and character.

Unlike many other Swiss kinds of cheese, Gruyère does not contain holes or ‘eyes.’ Instead, it’s characterized by a smooth, dense texture. This is due in part to the precise milk-processing methods employed and the lack of mold, which typically results in the formation of these holes during the cheese-making process.

Gruyère cheese melts beautifully, making it an ideal ingredient for fondues, quiches, and gratins. It adds a deliciously nutty and savory flavor to any dish, making it a favorite in both Swiss and international cuisines.

Its quality and origin are protected with an Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP). This ensures that only cheese from this region can be called Gruyère, preserving its authenticity and connection to its origins in Switzerland.


Edam cheese originates from a town of the same name in the Netherlands, specifically within the province of North Holland.

This Dutch cheese can be recognized by its distinctive ball shape. It is made from part-skimmed cow’s milk, which contributes to its characteristically mild and slightly salty flavor.

The rind, or coat, of Edam cheese, is covered in a layer of red or yellow wax, which not only gives Edam its recognizable appearance but also helps in its aging process. The wax encasement prevents the cheese from drying out and allows it to mature gracefully while maintaining its original qualities during transportation.


  • Origin: Edam, North Holland, Netherlands
  • Texture: Semi-hard
  • Shape: Ball-like, flat-ended spheres
  • Rind: Red paraffin wax

Edam cheese balls are sold in wheels, which may weigh anywhere from roughly 2 to 9 pounds or 1 to 4 kilograms. They are known for their excellent travel and storage capabilities, which made them a staple for sea voyages in the past.

As the cheese ages, it develops a firmer texture and sharper flavor, though it remains less intense compared to other aged cheeses.

Cheese enthusiasts may note its taste profile is nutty and slightly salty when young, developing complexity with time. This versatile cheese can be sliced for sandwiches, included on a cheese platter, or even grated over various dishes.


Brie is a classic French cheese known for its rich, creamy texture and mild flavor.

Named after the Brie region in northeastern France, where it originated, it is a favorite among cheese connoisseurs.

A distinctive characteristic of Brie is its white mold rind, which is generally eaten and contributes to its unique taste profile.

The cheese is made from cow’s milk and is classified as soft cheese. It is pale in color with a slight grayish tinge beneath its rind.

The interior of Brie exudes a rich, buttery cream essence underpinned by subtle tangy notes. It is a testament to the Brie region’s history in artisanal cheese-making.

Brie AttributesDescription
TextureSoft and creamy to semi-firm, depending on age
FlavorMild with hints of earthiness; mushroom undertones develop with age
RegionBrie, northeastern France
MilkCow’s milk
RindEdible white mold

Certain varieties, such as Brie de Meaux, are protected under the AOC classification system. This ensures that only cheeses originating from a particular region and adhering to specific standards can bear the name.


Stilton is an English cheese that comes from the English countryside and carries a legacy tied to the village of Stilton in Cambridgeshire.

Despite its name, Stilton cheese is not actually produced in Stilton due to a designation that stipulates it can only be made in the counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire.

Characteristics of Stilton Cheese:

  • Type: Blue cheese
  • Origin: England
  • PDO status: Protected

Known for its rich and bold taste profile, Stilton cheese exhibits a unique blend of creamy and tangy notes with a robust aroma. It has a crumbly yet velvety texture punctuated by the blue veins classic to blue cheeses.

The process of making Stilton is highly regulated. In order to bear the name Stilton, the cheese must adhere to certain criteria and is a protected variety under the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO).

To be classified as Stilton, the cheese must:

  • Be made from local pasteurized cow’s milk
  • Have the traditional cylindrical shape
  • Contain blue veins radiating from the center
  • Undergo a minimum aging period

Stilton cheese is often enjoyed with port wine or as part of sophisticated culinary dishes.


Munster cheese, not to be confused with the American Muenster, originates from the French region of Haut-Rhin, specifically the commune of Munster.

This cheese has a rich history grounded in monastic traditions, reflecting the expertise of aging that has been refined over centuries.

The making of Munster cheese begins with high-quality milk produced in the Vosges Mountains, and the process features careful aging to develop its distinctive taste and aroma.

The cheese is typically aged for five weeks, but it can be kept for up to three months, gaining strength in flavor over time.

OriginMunster, Haut-Rhin, France
Milk TypeCow
TextureSoft with a washed rind
Aging Time5 weeks to 3 months
FlavorSubtle and tangy

The village of Munster gives its name to this culinary treasure, linking the cheese directly with its location. “Munster” comes from the Latin word “monasterium,” which highlights the cheese’s origins in monastic life.

Munster Géromé, a name born from combining two regional cheeses, showcases local cheesemaking skills. Fans of genuine French cheese will enjoy the intricate flavors developed through Munster’s meticulous making and aging.


Asiago cheese hails from the plateau of the same name in the Veneto region of northern Italy.

It has a rich history, dating back to the 10th century when local farmers first produced it to preserve surplus milk.


A distinguishing feature of Asiago cheese is the pressing process it undergoes during production. There are two primary types of Asiago:

  1. Asiago Pressato (Fresh Asiago): This is a younger cheese with a smooth texture. It is only aged for about a month, resulting in a mild flavor and softer consistency.
  2. Asiago d’Allevo (Aged Asiago): Aging can vary from medium to very old. The maturation process ranges from four months to over two years, during which the cheese develops a firmer texture and more intense flavor.


  • Region of Origin: Asiago Plateau, Veneto, Italy
  • Milk Source: Cow’s milk
  • Texture: Ranges from smooth and creamy to crumbly based on aging

Flavor Profile:

  • Fresh Asiago presents a sweet and slightly tangy flavor.
  • Aged variants provide a more robust and savory taste with nutty undertones.

The mountainous Asiago plateau, from where it originates, gives Asiago its unique characteristics associated with the altitude and quality of grass the local cows feed on.