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By The Virtual Tourist
Whether the final result is Brie, port, cheddar, Swiss, or goat, the art of cheese making is a fascinating one and cheese makers the world over love nothing more than to show off their well-honed skills. With this in mind the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com have compiled this list of the "World's Top 10 Cheese Factories." These tours are not only great for adults who want to sample the area specialties (and maybe a glass of wine or two), but also a great activity for children who may have reached their museum threshold.
1. THE PRESIDENT FARM, CAMEMBERT, FRANCE
For a truly all-encompassing cheese experience, this is the place to go. The Farm's museum gives an in-depth historical lesson on cheese while the gift shop tantalizes your taste buds with a comprehensive cheese-tasting encounter. Additionally there are great exhibits on cheese labels and advertising for the ephemera-lover in your group!
2. LA MAISON DU GRUYERE, PRINGY-GRUYERES, SWITZERLAND
3. MARIN FRENCH CHEESE, PETALUMA, CALIF.
The oldest continually operating cheese factory in the United States, this company has been around since 1865 and is referred to by locals as a variety of different nicknames, "The Cheese Factory" being one of them. While the cheese is great here, you might be even more bowled over by the scenery; so beautiful are the grounds of this 700-acre estate that it even hosts weddings.
4. GLIGORA DAIRY, KOLAN, ISLAND PAG, CROATIA
This dairy is situated on an island that provides the best weather conditions for cheese making and even uses a specially constructed cave to store its cheese. Cap off your tour day in the dairy's tasting room where you can dine on exquisite cheese while enjoying extraordinary panoramic views of the island.
5. WIDMER'S CHEESE CELLARS, THERESA, WIS.
Get in on a family secret and watch how the Widmers have been making award-winning cheeses since 1922. Carrying on a legacy, Widmer's is unique in that it is the only Wisconsin factory to continue utilizing bricks in the cheddar-pressing process, so come down to the cellar, and see this timeless tradition in action.
6. SCHAUKASEREI KLOSTER ENGELBERG CHEESE FACTORY, ENGELBERG, SWITZERLAND
While its facilities look sleek and modern, the setting is actually a monastery. In addition to a lovely onsite bistro, this facility also offers an incredible cheese shop at which products made by the wives of local farmers are sold.
7. TILLAMOOK CHEESE FACTORY, TILLAMOOK, ORE.
Now this is staying power: the recipe for Tillamook cheddar cheese was developed more than 100 years ago and is still in use! Self-guided, this tour is full of fun, interactive exhibits and a viewing platform from which to watch the entire process, including how the company packages the product.
8. CASEIFICIO MICHELANGELO, PIANO DI SORRENTO, ITALY
Opened in the 1940s, this factory is currently being run by the third generation of its founding family. Just outside Sorrento, they even offer free rides from hotels in the middle of town. Visitors take note: advance reservations are necessary.
9. HENRI WILLIG CHEESE FARM, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
For a crash course in some culture, head out to the
10. WENSLEYDALE CREAMERY, NORTH YORKSHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM
After a visit to this facility's museum, which features an original farmhouse kitchen and dairy from the early 1900s, step into the present with a view from the gallery that shows each stage of the current cheese-making process. Once you're done witnessing the molding, cutting, separating, and salting, you'll be ready to commence the tasting!
© VirtualTourist.com, Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.
Travel | The World's Top 10 Cheese Factories