What are the most expensive cheeses in the world?
Rare and expensive cheese comes in a range of tastes and textures, produced with milk from cows, goats, and even sheep often topped off with luxury truffles and gold flakes.
This article explores the best luxury cheeses currently available, from Italy’s Cacio Bufala to the ultra-rare Pule produced with milk from Balkan donkeys.
The Most Expensive Cheeses In The World
With an extensive selection of luxury cheeses available, we’ve researched the most exclusive produce you can buy to bring you this definitive guide.
Here’s our list of the 10 most expensive cheeses in the world:
10. Cacio Bufala – $43 Per Pound
Cacio Bufala – sometimes referred to as Cacio di Bufala – is an expensive cheese from Italy which, as the name suggests, is made from whole fat buffalo milk.
This cheese is drum-like in appearance, featuring a delicate, yellow rind that is semi-hard, with a deliciously smooth texture when eaten.
The aging process for Cacio Bufala typically takes place in natural caves of Casa Madaio dairy farm or underground cellars and can take between eight and ten months to mature.
The creamy texture of this expensive cheese is because buffalo milk contains twice the fat of traditional raw cow’s milk, lending it a buttery texture and taste which melts in the mouth.
The pasteurized water buffalo milk used for this artisanal cheese is soaked in salt brine and then left to ripen for a minimum of sixty days, using natural rennet and salt.
During the maturation process, the curd is drained to produce the compact end product with its signature aromatic scene and a hint of sweetness to the taste.
Cacio Bufala is often used in pasta and pizza dishes and tastes excellent when served with a glass of the most expensive wines you can buy.
9. Beaufort d’Ete – $45 Per Pound
Produced in the Savoie region of France from the raw milk of cows, the Beaufort d’Ete luxury cheese is appreciated by cheese lovers for its smooth texture.
Pale yellow and sporting a distinctly nutty flavor, the Beaufort cheese outclasses traditional cheeses such as cheddar cheese with its distinct aroma.
This soft cheese is created in France’s Alps, more specifically the Savoie region, and derives from the milk of the mountain breed of cow called the Taurine.
The Beaufort d’Ete has a deep-rooted history in the region, having been crafted here since the 17th century, finding great popularity during the French Revolution.
The cheese is typically pressed, which means there are few holes to its structure, adding to its overall smooth appearance and texture.
Production of the Beaufort d’Ete cheese is undoubtedly higher than some of the most expensive cheese available, with approximately 52,000 wheels produced each year, commanding a price of $45 per pound.
8. Old Ford – $30-$50 Per Pound
When you think of England’s cheese output, names like cheddar cheese and Red Leicester spring to mind first.
Yet the UK is home to some of the world’s most expensive cheese, for example, the Old Ford cheese, manufactured by Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Taken from pasteurized goat’s milk, this cheese is initially aged for some time before being hand pressed to give it its distinct shape.
It’s a rare cheese that is delicate to the touch, with a beautiful combination of butteriness and saltiness when eaten.
Old Ford cheese has a striking purity, with its bright white appearance offering a stark contrast to Old Ford’s rind, which resembles a millstone with its rough, spotted texture.
It’s a semi-hard white cheese, with a distinct taste often found with cheese made from goat’s milk and a slightly chewy rather than crumbly texture.
This can vary depending on when a given batch of Old Ford was produced since the aging process varies from one season to the next.
If the cheese is left to mature during the summer months, the process can be over within three months; left over winter, and around eight months is required to get the denser texture and flavor with a little more intensity.
7. Jersey Blue – $45 Per Pound
You don’t have to be a hardcore cheese lover to be familiar with Swiss cheese, and the Jersey blue cheese takes on the classic appearance you can expect from cheeses in this region.
This is a delicious soft blue cheese, riddled with blue, white, and gray mold veins which run through the cheese’s body.
A relatively recent artisan blue cheese, it has only been in production since 2006, produced using raw milk from the Jersey cow with a yogurt ferment.
It’s produced in Lichensteig, located in the St. Gallen canton of Switzerland by cheesemaker Will Schmid, with the cows used for each batch carefully selected.
An externally rinded blue cheese, the final product is shaped into five-inch domes, weighing around four pounds each, bringing their total cost to about $180 per dome (or $45 per pound).
As with other creamy blue cheese, the Jersey blue has a somewhat musty smell, but this is balanced out with its smooth and buttery texture.
The Jersey blue Swiss cheese is the kind of dairy treat you can expect to find served up in one of the most expensive restaurants in the world.
6. Caciocavallo Podolico – $40-$50 Per Pound
The concept of luxurious cheeses doesn’t bring to mind images of horses, but the Caciocavalli Podolico cheese has earned the nickname of “horse cheese,” although fortunately not because it is made from horses milk.
Caciocavallo Podolico is another of Italy’s famous expensive cheeses, this time hailing from the Campania region in the south of the country.
It’s also one of the oldest cheeses in the world, having been produced here since the 14th century from a rare breed of cows called Podolica.
These cows only lactate in May and June, creating a minimal window of opportunity for the cheese to be produced based on the limited milk supply.
The cheese is typically left to age for between two and three months, hung in a pear-shaped form, and tied up into pairs which are then strung over poles throughout the curing process.
Costing between $40 and $50 per pound, you don’t need Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth to savor its taste, which is rich with the fruit flavors on account of the Podolica cows’ diet.
Caciocavallo Podolico horse cheese is sometimes grated over pasta and is also commonly served with fruit or wine to further accentuate the cheese’s different fruit flavors.
5. Bitto Storico – $150 Per Pound
While cheese production typically takes a few months for the cheese to age, the Bitto Storico cheese is aged for much longer and can be stored for up to 18 years to develop its full flavor.
This attention to detail makes the Bitto Storico an exceptional cheese to accompany some of the most expensive alcoholic drinks in the world, and its distinct flavor varies depending on the season each batch was produced.
Bitto Storico is usually aged for around ten years and is made with a blend of approximately 20 percent Orobica goat’s milk, mixed up with the milk from cows that graze the pastures surrounding the Bitto River Valley and Valtellina Valley in Lombardy, Italy.
The more goat’s milk used in each cheese batch, the more aging the cheese can undergo, which sets the Bitto Storico apart from many other luxury cheeses in the world.
The cheese is made by just 12 different producers in the region, with each master cheese grader using the traditional copper cauldrons placed over wood fires, which their ancestors used for centuries.
The cow’s milk gains its complex flavor on account of the lack of supplemental feed, giving Bitto cheese an aroma of grass and hay, their principal diet.
Italy produces cheeses that are up there with the best in the world, and if you’re a cheese lover who happens to be passing through the town of Gerolo Alta, you can taste Bitto cheese for yourself.
4. Wyke Farms Cheddar – $200 Per Pound
Wyke Farms cheddar cheese is an award-winning cheese from the United Kingdom, renowned for its crumbly texture, as well as its ability to elevate a cheese sandwich to the next level.
Made from local pasteurized cow’s milk in Somerset in the southwest of England, Wyke Farms cheddar cheese has been in production since the 19th century and today fetches $200 per pound.
Its popularity skyrocketed from the 1950s onwards, and the cheese has won numerous awards, including the 2015 Global Cheese Awards and the International Cheese Awards, winning a gold prize in the smoked category.
This exceptional cheese is made by storing the cheddar in specially made wooden boxes, with the Wyke Farms’ master cheese grader regularly checking in on the aging process.
It takes around 15 months to fully mature and is gluten-free, so if you’re gluten intolerant, you can add it to your shopping list without being concerned about falling ill.
What makes this one of the most expensive cheeses in the world is the inclusion of edible gold leaf with French truffle, which combined lend the cheese a distinct taste over other luxurious cheeses.
Known to pair well with a selection of beers and wines, the Wyke Farms cheddar has a high price point, but if you can go without the gold leaf, the farm also offers a selection of affordable vintage cheeses which start around $14.
3. White Stilton Gold – $400 Per Pound
Another high-priced luxury cheese that includes edible gold leaf in its list of ingredients is white stilton gold cheese, which also comes from rural England.
Made from cow’s milk, the white stilton gold cheese earns its hefty price tag with the inclusion of gold cinnamon schnapps, in addition to the expensive gold flakes which glisten on its surface.
It’s the creation of Long Clawson’s, a British dairy company based in Melton Mowbray in Leicester, England, first established in 1911.
The high price is elevated by the long aging process, the result of which is a rich and aromatic stilton cheese that has the kind of depth of scent you’d expect from the world’s most expensive cigars.
Costing $400 per pound of cheese – which translates to around $80 per slice – white stilton gold is only available on a per-order basis, so don’t expect to pick some up on a visit to their farm shop.
The inclusion of gold liqueur gives white stilton gold a uniquely tangy flavor, enhanced by the creamy layers which run through its core.
Additional taste highlights bring elements of lemon, ginger, and apricot to the palette, which also help to bring additional colors to its appearance.
The stilton family of cheeses are protected in the United Kingdom under European law and can only be produced in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Derbyshire from local pasteurized cow’s milk.
White stilton gold is the most expensive of them all, celebrated for its complex taste and decorative real gold flakes.
2. Moose – $500 Per Pound
While it’s debatable whether cheese is as addictive as some illicit substances, as the mayor of New York as claimed, cheese lovers worldwide might find themselves addicted to the moose cheese from Sweden.
Part of the exclusivity of moose cheese comes from the limited amount of milk that can be got from a moose, and only around five liters of milk is produced daily for this cheese.
Produced by the Elk House in Bjurholm, Sweden, moose cheese comes in four varieties and can only be purchased in the local area or at one of a select few restaurants.
Just three sibling moose are milked for their cheese, named Gullan, Haelga, and Juno, and the owners have to be particularly delicate when milking them to avoid disturbing them and losing their milk supply.
These moose only lactate between May and September, giving their owners a limited window of opportunity to collect as much milk as possible for their expensive cheeses.
Moose milk is high in protein, which gives the resulting cheese a higher than average fat content and a texture and flavor resembling Camembert.
With only 300 kilograms of moose cheese produced each year, it comes with a high price tag of $500 per pound and is the only place in the world that uses moose milk for its products.
If you’re in the neighborhood and want a guided tour of the Elk House farmstead, the Johanssons will be happy to show you around to see for yourself what’s involved in the process.
1. Pule – $600-$1,300 Per Pound
The most expensive cheese in the world is Pule cheese, made from donkey’s milk and is only available in Serbia or Montenegro.
As donkeys give off very little milk, only a tiny amount of pule cheese can be produced each year, which is why the price tag can vary between $600 and $1,300 per pound, making the previous moose cheese price look much more affordable.
It takes 25 liters of donkey milk to produce one kilogram of Pule, and the milk is collected exclusively from Balkan donkeys in the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve.
Pule cheese is noted for its complex and rich flavor and firmer texture, while the smoking process during production adds extra complexity to its taste profile.
The cheesemakers have been using the same recipe to make Pule for several centuries, meaning its slightly sweet flavor has been consistent from one generation to the next.
It’s also a very healthy cheese to eat, as donkey milk contains as much as 60 times more vitamin C than cow’s milk, with a much lower fat content.
Historians have long discussed rumors that Cleopatra once bathed in donkey milk for its restorative effects, while today, we can imagine Pule to be the cheese of choice for the richest actors in the world to snack on between takes.
The variety of luxurious cheeses spans across the width of Europe, each cheese bringing its distinct taste and texture profile, from creamy natural cheeses to ones with a robust and nutty flavor.
We’ve covered the most expensive cheeses of all, so you can choose the best ones to accompany your hearty slices of bread the next time you feel like treating yourself.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 most expensive cheeses in the world:
- Pule – $600-$1,300 per pound
- Moose – $500 per pound
- White stilton gold – $400 per pound
- Wyke Farms cheddar – $200 per pound
- Bitto Storico – $150 per pound
- Caciocavallo Podolico – $40-$50 per pound
- Jersey Blue – $45 per pound
- Old Ford – $30-$50 per pound
- Beaufort d’Ete – $45 per pound
- Cacio Bufala – $43 per pound