Is there any ingredient more drool-worthy than cheese? If you’ve ever been tempted to fly to Italy just for a slice of pizza, you’ll want to read on, as I reveal where it’s appropriate to order an entire plate of melted cheese for dinner. Be warned: The siren call of cheesy foods might just have you buying a plane ticket.
Cheesy Foods Worth Traveling For
From bread boats carrying cheese to flaming fromage, here are seven cheesy foods worth traveling for.
Whereas fondue requires some kind of superfluous vehicle for eating it (like bread), raclette doesn’t force you into the illusion that you’re here for anything but melted cheese. This famous Swiss dish is made from the eponymous Valaisan cheese, a wheel of which is cooked and the melted cheese scraped out directly on to your plate. The Swiss will throw on a handful of small potatoes, gherkins, and pickled onions, but they’re mainly for decoration. You’ll be eating a plateful of melted cheese with a fork and knife. And you’ll have an excuse to drink—according to the Swiss, only wine, beer, or hot tea should be consumed with raclette, as they believe that regular water will cause the cheesy food to congeal in your stomach.
Cheese Wheel Pasta (Various)
If you’re the type of person who never says “stop” when the waiter is grating fresh cheese on to your pasta, you’re going to love cheese wheel pasta. This cheesy food combines two of your favorite ingredients (carbs and cheese) into one beautifully decadent dish. It’s made by taking a full round of Parmigiano-Reggiano that’s been partially hollowed out into a bowl shape. Hot cooked pasta or risotto is added into the wheel of cheese and tossed until it creates the ultimate gooey sauce. You can find this dish in Italian restaurants throughout the U.S., or in Italy. Can’t wait to travel for cheese wheel pasta? You can buy a full 82-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano on Amazon and make your own.
Khachapuri Adjaruli (Georgia)
Fluffy, crunchy, pizza crust-like dough is formed into a boat shape, and that vessel is filled with melted cheese, hunks of butter, and a cracked raw egg and presented to you. This is Georgia’s famous khachapuri Adjaruli, and your job is to mix the butter, egg, and cheese together and then devour it.
Cheese Saganaki (Greece)
Cheese saganaki is a traditional Greek appetizer that involves frying the outside edges of a hunk of cheese, making the outside crispy and the inside melty. Many U.S. tavernas put a star-spangled twist on this cheesy dish by pouring a shot of ouzo over the cheese and lighting it on fire tableside, which creates not only a fun spectacle, but an even crunchier crust.
Argentina is most known for its world-famous steaks, but locals know that the country’s real specialty is provoleta—provolone cheese that’s seasoned with a magical blend of spices, thickly sliced and cooked on the grill. It’s usually served by itself on a plate as an appetizer with a basket of bread, but you’ll also find versions that are stuffed with vegetables or meat.
If you’ve ever looked at rich, buttery mashed potatoes and wondered how you could make them even more unhealthy, France has the answer for you, in the form of aligot. Aligot takes traditional mashed potatoes and blends in enough cheese that when you take a forkful, long strings of cheese will cling to your fork. Next step: French fried aligot?
Is there anything more glorious on a cold day than a literal pot of melted cheese? Not according to Switzerland, which is where fondue was invented, supposedly as a way for peasants to use up aged cheese and stale bread. Although it’s tempting to order an entire fondue for yourself, it’s designed to be more of a social dish, with friends gathering around a table for hours at a time to indulge together. Be warned that Swiss tradition dictates that if you drop your bread into the pot, you’ll have to pay a penalty (like completing a dare).
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Tasty Fast Foods You Can’t Eat in America
- 10 Most Fattening Foods in the World
- 8 Foods You Should Never Eat Before Flying
Caroline Morse Teel will travel for cheesy foods. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline to see photos of cheese and other delicacies around the world.