Which country makes the best cheese?

By Richard Simpson

Nov 17, 2023

Which country makes the best cheese?

Which country makes the best cheese?

Well what are we eating?

If you were to ask a member of the general public which cheeses they have eaten recently, they would probably name cheddar, mozzarella, Parmesan, Brie and Camembert. It is pretty likely quite a few would answer Comte, Gouda, Emmental or Gruyere.

Blue lovers would probably answer Stilton, or possibly Gorgonzola or Roquefort.

So, taking those answers into account, it would be France, followed by Italy, Switzerland and the UK in terms of styles that we eat.

But over 70% of the cheese we eat in the UK is cheddar. So maybe the UK makes the best cheese? In reality, much of that cheese is for grating or in a sandwich. Delicious yes, but is it the best cheese in the world? Maybe not.

But come on, it’s the French right – they have all the history

It is true that France have contributed an awful lot to the history of cheese.  Even cheeses like Wensleydale, a British household staple over generations, has French influence. In fact, it was brought over by Cistercian monks originally as a blue sheep’s milk cheese, similar to Roquefort! 

The French also gave us Brie and Comte, not to mention Roquefort.

Most of us, on a special occasion, will still opt for French cheeses. 

Or is it the Swiss…but then does that mean it was the US?

There are very few of us that haven’t had a rather steamy encounter with a fondue, Emmental, raclette or any form of melted cheese on carbohydrate. It is most likely this was Swiss cheese. In fact, Gruyere has won at the World Cheese Awards (as a style of cheese) more than any other cheese. That was the case at the 2022 World Cheese Awards as well. So perhaps Swizterland make the best cheese? 

But does that then mean that in 2021 Spain was the best cheesemaker, or in 2019 the US made the best cheese in the world, as they had the winner with Rogue River Blue. The US making the best cheese in the world….zut alor!!

What the most recent ‘Oscars’ of cheese say

Maybe the winner of Supreme Champion at the World Cheese Awards is too narrow and subjective. One cheese doesn’t make a nation of cheesemakers.

Perhaps, we should look at the Top 16. Each year, out of 4,500 cheeses, only 16 make the ‘final’. An almost impossible feat, and decided by over 400 of the most knowledgeable judges in the industry, this is possibly the best insight into which country is making the best cheese in the world.

So what happened in 2022?

Well, Swizerland had the winner.

Spain, Germany, Belgium, the USA and the Netherlands also had 1.

The powerhouses Italy and France had 3 each.

But one country had 4….England!! Yes 25% of the top 16 Super Golds were made in England. 

Not only that, Gorwydd Caerphilly had been in the Top 16 3 years in a row!

A quite extraordinary triumph.


The truth is of course that the romance of cheese is how varied, and subjective it is. There is no way of truly establishing which country makes the best cheese in the world. 

But one thing I know for sure is that the UK holds its own against any country in the world. Yes, the British make cheese that is up there with the best in the world. And of course, if you’re asking me, I would say wholeheartedly that I think the British make the best cheese in the world (although you’ll find I am never far from a piece of Comte, Etivaz or Gorgonzola).

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