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The Definitive Ranking Of Cheese From Worst To Best

Milk + bacteria x time = wondrous variety.

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25. Feta.

Flickr: lexnger / Creative Commons

The saltiest cheese of them all! Sometimes the benchmark for cheese is whether you can gnaw it straight from the block while gazing blearily into your fridge. Feta does not meet this benchmark, but luckily it's perfect with black olives in a Greek salad, or even with cubed watermelon (seriously).

22. Wensleydale.

Flickr: richardnorth / Creative Commons

Ooh, Wensleydale. Made in Yorkshire since 1150, this cheese is crumbly and chalky and sometimes has a few cranberries stuck in it at Christmas-time. It does have a habit of falling off the cracker before you can get it in your mouth, though.


20. Paneer.

Flickr: alaivani / Creative Commons

This South Asian curd cheese isn't quite the right consistency for toast-based shenanigans, but really tasty when deep-fried, or cubed and baked in a tandoor as an alternative to meat.

19. Gorgonzola.

Flickr: artizone / Creative Commons

Mould has never tasted so good. It's creamy and blue (although really it's green - it gets its marbling from a spore called Penicillium glaucum). It's wonderful in pasta, on pizza, with figs, in a salad with pears, or any damn way you please.

18. Roquefort.

Flickr: doozzle / Creative Commons

Tangy and blue, Roquefort was apparently first mentioned in literature by Pliny the Elder in AD 79. It's made with sheep's milk, and matured in caves in the south of France. Incomparable in a quiche (and meets the straight-from-the-fridge test, although in small doses).


17. Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Flickr: sofiagk / Creative Commons

Smells like feet, looks like feet, tastes amazing grated onto pasta dishes. Accept no alternatives - ready-grated generic 'hard dried cheese' won't pack as much flavour.

16. Any kind of smoked cheese.

Flickr: 71256895@N00 / Creative Commons

This is a bit of catch-all since any kind of cheese can be smoked. But sometimes regular cheese can get a little samey, but the smoked versions of Gruyère, Cheddar and Provolone all provide a piquant alternative in almost any dish.

15. Manchego.

Flickr: haynes / Creative Commons

Manchego is smooth and buttery and comes in mild and tart varieties. It dates back to Cervantes' time, and some people even eat big chunks of the stuff with fruit pies instead of cream.

14. Reblochon.

Flickr: ganations / Creative Commons

Once you get past the intense wall of BO it gives out, Reblochon is unbelievably silky and moreish. With a fatty, almost puddingy texture, it works beautifully in fondues and tartiflette. Should be sold with clothes pegs for noses, though.


13. Babybel.

Flickr: electrichamster / Creative Commons

Babybel and Mini Babybel are basically tiny Edams, but their main attractions are that a) you can carry them in your pocket, and b) they're wrapped in that distinctive red wax, which you can then use to make art, like this:

12. American cheese.

Flickr: gpaumier / Creative Commons

It gets ribbed a lot for being orange and processed and sometimes being sold in cans, squeezy tubes and aerosol sprays, but you really can't beat American cheese on a burger, or in a grilled cheese sandwich. Or in nacho sauce. Or in "real" macaroni and cheese. Hooray for American cheese!

11. Cream cheese.

Flickr: iateapie / Creative Commons

Cream cheese is one of the great unsung cheeses. Nothing goes better with smoked salmon on a bagel, and if there was no cream cheese, there would be no cheesecake. Finally, you can never claim to have lived life to the full until you've eaten a Dairylea Triangle straight from the packet.


8. Halloumi.

Flickr: stijnnieuwendijk / Creative Commons

Falafel just isn't falafel until you've put some salty grilled halloumi on top. Also, no other cheese in the world squeaks against your teeth when you eat it. Just halloumi. I love you, halloumi.


6. Époisses.

Flickr: nickuzma / Creative Commons

Époisses is a glorious honking French semi-liquid cheese whose smell will melt your face off if you stand near it for too long. But why would you want to stand near it when it tastes so creamy and rich? Bake it, pour yourself a wheat beer, and have at it with a spoon.

5. Mozzarella.

Flickr: avlxyz / Creative Commons

Another cheese that doesn't reach its full potential until you add it to something else. It's gooey and stringy and comforting on pizzas and in lasagnas, and without Bufalo Mozzarella, a tricolore salad would just be tomato and basil.

4. Stilton.

Flickr: artizone / Creative Commons

Like port and game, Blue Stilton has a sharp flavour that is best appreciated by a mature palate. But what a versatile flavour - mix some Stilton with plain yoghurt to pour on salad; melt it on a steak; stick it in a pork pie, or just balance some on a bit of apple and put the whole lot in your mouth. Unbelievable. And it comes in white.

2. Cheddar.

Flickr: artizone / Creative Commons

Whether it's regular, mature, or extra-mature, Cheddar makes everything better. Baked potatoes, bread, apple pie, pasta, pizza, rice, grapes, paninis, biscuits... anything. Got a problem? Grate some Cheddar over it and then bake your problem in a hot oven for 10 minutes. Problem solved, deliciously! It is the ultimate cheese. Wait, it is the penultimate cheese.

1. Cambozola.

Flickr: sisterbeer / Creative Commons

This is a bold choice, but bear with me. Cambozola has only been around since the 1970s, when an enterprising German decided to marry the best bits of French Camembert with Italian Gorgonzola. And it was a genius idea, because Cambozola is a wonderfully creamy blue creation that works in any combination of burgers, pasta, salads. It goes particularly well with potato salad, and it also meets the straight-from-the-fridge test.