You can identify a Camembert, Stilton or Parmigiano Reggiano blindfolded, you know Cheddar is so much more than those plastic-wrapped supermarket blocks, and you savour the subtle distinctions between Gouda and aged Gouda. But as a fervent cheese aficionado, you also know these moulds are just the tip of the caseous mountain, so let us suggest 12 lesser-known cheeses that will shine on your next cheese board.

Fiore Sardo

Despite the name, most Pecorino Romano is not produced in Lazio, the region around Rome, but rather hails from the rugged island of Sardinia. If you enjoy this cheese, try Fiore Sardo – if you can find some. It’s an ancient raw sheep’s milk cheese that has its own D.O.P. quality seal and is aged for eight months – it’s salty, savoury and slightly smoky. Fiore means ‘flower’ in Italian, and the name comes from the ancient milk curdling technique using cardoon thistles instead of lamb rennet, commonly used nowadays.


If you’ve never had the luscious decadency that is Époisses, run to the cheesemonger right now! It’s a gooey cow’s milk cheese from Burgundy that has a presence, to say the least. Its orangey rind is washed with brine and marc de Bourgogne, the region’s grape spirit, leading to its characteristic pungent aroma and earthy, tangy flavour. Enjoy Époisses as a cheesy dessert, after having warmed it up for a couple of minutes. You’ll be scooping it out by the spoonful or with crusty sourdough bread – and won’t be able to stop until it’s done.


The most famous of Spanish blue cheeses isn’t very well-known outside of the country’s borders, but now you know about this blue-veined cheese, made from a blend of cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. The cheese is typically aged in limestone caves in the Picos de Europa mountain range, where the conditions are favourable for the development of blue mould and its typical flavours: robust, complex and pungent. It makes for a real palate-tingler.

Sottocenere Al Tartufo

For another Italian beaut, we go to the northern region of Veneto. The Sottocenere Al Tartufo is a pale cow’s milk “under ashes”– a layer of ash and spices like nutmeg, coriander, cloves and fennel acts as a preservative during ageing. Underneath this layer is a buttery cheese subtly infused with slivers of black truffle for a delicate, creamy and aromatic taste experience.

Humboldt Fog

This goat’s milk cheese from Humboldt County, California came to Cypress Grove founder Mary Keehn in a dream, at a time when there weren’t many artisanal cheeses available in the area. It’s soft-ripened (meaning it is aged from the outside in, with a bloomy, edible rind), and has a distinctive ribbon of edible ash. The cheese is creamy, floral and herbaceous, with a clean citrusy finish. If you can’t get this particular cheese in your location, try a Valençay or Sainte-Maure de Touraine.

Cougar Gold Cheese

Another American delight, Cougar Gold Cheese is an aged white cheddar from Washington state cows’ milk, with a crumbly, creamy texture and a robust, nutty and lingering flavour. It’s made at the WSU Creamery at the Washington State University campus and has come in a can since the 1930s – there are claims that this packaging makes the cheese last forever, but you won’t be able to resist opening it. If you can’t get your hands on this particular cheese, try a Welsh or Irish white cheddar. 

Leidse Kaas

It may sound hyper-specific, but when it comes to semi-hard Dutch cow’s milk cheeses, you’re spoilt for choice. For a unique taste experience, try a Boeren Leidse Kaas or Leyden cheese. Hailing from around the city of Leiden, this cheese is extra-delicious due to the addition of cumin seeds, lending a nice spice kick. Leidse Kaas originated as a by-product of butter-making, using skimmed milk which resulted in a cheese with a firmer structure and longer shelf life than full-cream Gouda. If you can’t find this specific type of cheese, look for Komijnekaas, the generic term for Dutch cheese with the addition of cumin seeds.

Brillat Savarin

This one is as rich as they come – a so-called triple cream cheese with a decadently high butterfat content, as a result of adding cream to the milk during the cheese-making process. Named after the famous French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, it has a mild, milky flavour under its bloomy white rind. Some types are infused with extra flavour, such as truffle or herbs. 

Ovelha Amanteigado

A spoonable raw sheep’s milk cheese, this amanteigado (buttery soft) delicacy hails from Portugal’s Serra da Estrela mountain region. The subtle use of thistle rennet lends the taste a surprising, slightly tart tang in combination with the creamy, floral paste of the cheese. Give the cheese ample time to come to room temperature, then slice off the hard top and spoon it out. 


There’s no shortage of brilliant Bergkäse (the German word for “mountain cheese” or cheese produced in the Alps), and while you might know the French Comté or Swiss Emmentaler, you’ll want to try Appenzeller from the Appenzellerland region of northeast Switzerland. The cow’s milk cheese has a unique nutty and herbal flavour due to a brine bath which consists of 42 herbs and other ingredients. The cheeses are rubbed with this super-secret formulation (only two people know the recipe) as they age (between three and six months). 


One of the better-known cheeses on this list, Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from Val Taleggio, a valley in the Lombardy region of northern Italy. The semi-soft, creamy cheese is washed with a brine solution during the cheese-making process, promoting the growth of bacteria which give the cheese its characteristic orange hue, and fruity, buttery, slightly earthy flavour. 


Oscypek is a rare gem from the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland, where it has been produced for centuries. Cheesemakers called “bacas” curdle raw sheep’s milk cheese and shape the fresh cheese like a spindle. They then adorn it with decorative patterns using a wooden mould, and let them smoke over a fire, lending the cheese a distinct, nutty aroma. 

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