Which Countries Eat The Most Cheese?

Ooooooooooh, CHEESE…! I must confess, I have a predilection for the stinkier incarnations. Although, I don’t care all that much for blue cheeses, I find them a tad too acidy (though good for cooking, e.g. crumbled into in soups), it’s the medium-soft kinds, those that get really runny as they mature, which send me right up to heaven.

Unfortunately, they tend to turn into a bio hazard in the fridge, and leaving these feisty breeds festering on the kitchen counter in the quest for perfect ripeness will inevitably lead to an emergency evacuation of the entire apartment building…

So, which are the most cheese-loving countries?

Spearheading the cheese consumption league table is France with 17.2kg per capita in 2012. Not a big surprise, I grant you, but I did not expect the three runners up to be Scandinavian countries, namely Finland, Norway and Sweden, with around 16kg per head. Next in line are a more predictable round of suspects, i.e. Belgium, Switzerland, Greece and Italy.

I was expecting the Netherlands to be among the top five (probably because the German term of disparagement reserved for the Dutch is “cheeseheads”), but they are in ninth place with 14.5kg, not that far ahead of the Germans’ 12.3kg.

The US nibbled its way through (a most likely totally bland-tasting) 11.2kg, while Australia managed 10kg, Canada 9.6kg, and the UK 8.3kg.

Eastern Europe, for some reason that I can’t figure out, is all over the place. Bulgaria impresses with an appreciable 13.8kg, but neighbouring Romania made do with an abstemious 1.8kg. Totally baffling! Russia was in the middle with 5.4kg.

Many countries, especially those in the Asia Pacific region, do not have a culinary tradition that includes dairy products, and this means no cheese. Hence, sales of cheese in countries like China and Japan remain marginal. And who can blame them – rotten milk is somewhat of an acquired taste…

So,  what’s your favourite kind of cheese?

[For data source, click here]

34 thoughts on “Which Countries Eat The Most Cheese?

  1. Anna

    I’m not sure I have a favorite – I eat all kinds in all countries except for the most moldy varieties – but the most memorable one is probably Tetilla, the boob cheese. It gets your with its, ahem, original shape, and keeps you with a really lovely taste.

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      1. Anna

        Well, Spain IS the only place I’ve encountered it…the first time on a field trip to Segovia. The guys in the group particularly enjoyed it.

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  2. Every Day Adventures in Asia

    Gotta admit I’m a cheesy kinda gal. No evening gathering will happen without a variety of cheese, olives, humous, balsamic vinegar and some breads… But a favourite? That’s tough! Because it all depends on whether the cheese is having a solo performance or in concert with other food. I suppose some of the relatives of parmigiano reggiano esp from Modena. 🙂

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  3. Jackie Cangro

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever had Limburger (though from your description I’d probably remember if I had). I’m surprised The Netherlands is quite far down on the list. When I was there last year, we had some delicious varieties like Gouda and Edam.
    I could live on cheese and bread alone!

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  4. pollyheath

    As always, so informative about things very important to my life.

    I love brie. Oh, and any cheese with fruits and nuts in it, I’m down for.

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  5. expatsincebirth

    Well, I have many “favourite” cheeses: parmigiano, fontina, asiago, gottardo, gruyère, brie, grogonzola (but only in a sauce on pasta), gouda… and I like them with raisins or pears and nuts. And for Fondue: vacherin fribourgeois…

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      1. everywherebuthome

        Sadly, no. The only “cheese” they make is coagulated but does not seem to be cultured and doesn’t taste like anything. Everything else is imported. It’s incredible, given the Mongolian ingenuity in all other realms of dairy products (blog post on that topic coming soon).

        The stringy smoked stuff they get from Russia is great, though!

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      2. ladyofthecakes Post author

        That is surprising… I thought a diary industry is pretty much all they had, and hence I was expecting a wealth of tasty cheese!
        Look forward to the dairy post 🙂

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