There's a lot of weird cheese floating around out there on the Internet. But you don't have to be a foodie to know that you can't put just put any old hunk of curdled milk in your mouth.
So for the true cheese connoisseur, we bring you five of the most expensive cheeses in the universe.
5. Gorau Glas
This cow's milk blue cheese is made by Margaret Davies from Dwyran, Anglessy and has the reputation for being the most expensive cheese in the UK. It's won awards all over Europe and is quite labor-intensive to produce, which we guess justifies its $40/pound price tag.
What kind of cheese could possibly ring up at $700 a pound? Find out after the jump.
A formaggio italiano, Bitto is made from a blend of Swedish Brown cow and orbic goat milk at a minimum altitude of 1,500 meters -- and only between the months of June and September. Wheels of the cheese are brined in saltwater overnight and aged on oak boards for at least two months. It holds a very special place in the hearts of the farmers who continue to make it in the Celtic way that has been passed on for generations. They view Bitto as a symbol of tradition of the dairy industry of the area.
It's the only cheese in the world that can ripen for over a decade, and one of the few that will run you as much as $55.00/pound.
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3. Moose cheese
If you're ever in Bjurholm, Sweden, be sure to stop by the Moose House, a 59-acre moose dairy where you can meet Gullan, Haelga, and Juno. The three female moose were abandoned by their mother and taken in by the Johannson family. They now see the Johannsons "almost as their own calves," which is great because milking a 1,000-pound moose under any other conditions would probably be impossible -- definitely dangerous. The moose only lactate three to five months of the year and require the most tender of handling during milking since disturbances can cause the animals to get flustered and "dry-up." Each animal produces about a gallon of milk a day so the farm puts out about 660 pounds of buttery moose cheese a year.
We couldn't figure out if the farm takes credit cards so if you're interested in picking some up next time your going through the area, you'll want to bring some cash -- the cheese costs about $500/pound.
This cheese is popular and widely used in southern Italy. Its name means "horse cheese." The name does not come from the type of milk used to produce it (obviously/thankfully), but rather from the fact that back in the day, it was hung off the back of a horse so it could be transported while it cured. The cheese has a distinctive pear shape and a shiny rind with a creamy white filling. It comes from the milk of a rare Italian breed of cow, the Podolica, which only produces milk during May and June.
If the image of curdling milk hanging off the back of a sweaty animal doesn't transport you to rustic Tuscany, maybe the price will. Pound for pound, Caciocavallo Podolco costs the same as its weight in silver, about $650/pound.
1. Ass (Donkey) Cheese
Home to 100 Balkan donkeys, the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve along the Zasavica River produces a smoked donkey's milk cheese that they call "Pule." They swear the obscene price of the cheese directly correlates to the value of the milk, which makes sense since one kilogram of cheese requires 25 liters of milk.
It's available on an advanced order basis and costs about $700/pound.