Cheese lovers. Globetrotters. Wine connoisseurs. We’ve partnered with TUI to unearth the best value country in Europe for a wine and cheese pairing. Spoiler: it’s not France.
Given that increasing cheese and wine intake has been shown to combat cognitive decline, we thought we’d find where in Europe has the best value cheese and wine. Is it the Brie and Beaujolais, the Mozzarella and Chianti or some other delicious combo? A National Wine and Cheese Day exists, which confirms that this is serious business. If you're looking for cheese holiday deals, read on...
Our research scopes out 27 countries in Europe to uncover where the seasoned traveller should visit for the best cheap wine and cheese pair. vouchercloud used Numbeo, Vivino and Taste Atlas data to calculate the top European cheese and vino. Bottoms up.
The Mediterranean is the place to be with Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece all in the top 5
Get ready to book your next holiday to the Mediterranean, where the wine and cheese are bountiful and great value. A quick two-hour flight and you’re in Portugal, which scores solidly across all categories and so earns 1st place. Portugal has the 2nd cheapest wine in Europe, at £3.44 a bottle, while cheese hovers around the middle of the table at £6.50 a kilo - less than a tenner all in. Most importantly, the produce is delicious, ranking joint 9th for cheese quality and 5th for wine quality. The creamy Serra da Estrela is top of the list, best served with a Tawny Port. Good job Portugal.
The Med appears again in 3rd position with Spain. The cheese is a little pricier at £8.18 a kilo and wine comes in 9th at £4.30 a bottle. But Spain shines when it comes to quality with 8 cheeses in the top 150 and a 4.00 star wine rating, the 4th best in Europe. Go for the Queso Manchego, a firm slightly acidic cheese, paired with a smooth Rioja wine. Buen provecho!
Italy and Greece share 5th place overall. Greece has reasonably-priced wine and cheese and cracking ratings, but swap it for Italy to get the best wine in Europe at 4.26 stars. You’ll also enjoy better cheese but you’ll pay £11.56, or an extra 38%.
Eastern Europe punches above its weight with Georgia and Moldova in the top 5
France and Italy might dominate most charts, but Eastern Europe has a lot to offer serious foodies. Georgia is famously the birthplace of wine and ranks 2nd overall - these folks know what they’re doing. Georgia has 1 cheese in the top 150 and a decent wine rating of 3.89 stars. It’s also ridiculously affordable, boasting the number 1 cheapest cheese in Europe at £3.56 a kilo and the 3rd cheapest wine at £3.45 a bottle. In Georgia, the mild Sulguni cheese is fantastic in a salad or as a pizza topping, and especially good when paired with a velvety Saperavi.
If you happen to fancy a trip to Moldova, you’d know you’re getting the 4th best value wine and cheese in Europe. It’s incredibly cheap and delicious to boot.
Italy and France are reigning cheese champions - both with 34 cheeses in the top 150 and a wine score north of 4.2
Italy and France are the crowning glory of cheese in Europe: they share 1st place with an un-brie-lievable 34 cheeses each. Expect to fork out for the prestige. France has the 3rd most expensive cheese in Europe at £14.25 a kilo - go with the Brie de Meaux and Champagne or Comté and Crémant d’Alsace. Delicieux.
Italy has the 4th most expensive cheese at a healthy £11.56 but makes up for it with reasonably-priced wine. Try some buttery Mozzarella di Bufala Campana paired with a fresh Fiano di Avellino.
Moldova is best for overall value - with the second cheapest cheese at £3.76/kg and a ridiculous £2.82 per wine bottle
If you love a holiday as much as you love cheap wine, Moldova is a winner. Moldova is the cheapest place in Europe for wine and cheese. Wine will set you back a measly £2.82 per bottle, while cheese is slightly pricier sitting in 2nd place at £3.76. You’ll pay a grand total of £6.58, which is only 7p more expensive than a bottle of wine in France. The quality is fair, but not excellent. No cheeses feature in the top 150 but Moldova has a strong 4.00 star wine rating. One of the best is the Gitana Saperavi 2016, which incidentally is in the top 1% of wines in the world. Cheese snobs might want to look elsewhere.
Switzerland and Cyprus languish in the bottom 5 despite both being famed for good cheese
Unexpectedly, Switzerland and Cyprus lag behind in 26th and 24th position, respectively. Cyprus’ cheese is £10.51 per kilo and a bottle of wine is £6.85. Switzerland might have 4 cheeses in the top 150, but it’ll set you back a hilarious £18.59 per kilo with pricey £9.41 wine on top. Sure, the Emmental is nice - but at £18.59, it’s more expensive than the average cheese in Portugal, Spain and Georgia put together - and probably even some one-way flights in Europe.
Wales has the best of Great Britain
Wales takes the metaphorical cheesy biscuit here. It ranks 12th overall, easily beating England in 15th place and Scotland in 22nd. The classic English Wensleydale just doesn’t cut it this time, so go with Wales if you'd rather a staycation. Welsh cheese costs significantly less at £3.91 on average, or 43% cheaper than England. We’d go with the traditional Welsh Caerphilly or the Y Fenni, a spicy mustard cheese for more adventurous taste buds.
Jean-Francois Bessiron, Vice President of Goods, Coupons and National, said:
“We can all agree that wine and cheese is a duo we need in our lives, and we’re craving a holiday after the year we’ve had. That’s why we at vouchercloud put together an index of the top wine and cheese destinations in Europe for some quirky travel inspiration.
It’s fascinating to see how wine and cheese quality - and price - varies across Europe, and it just proves to us that luxury can still be affordable. We found it refreshing to see some unusual destinations topping the charts!
Take a look at the TUI holidays available with a discount code from vouchercloud - just be sure to check local and government guidelines before booking a trip.”
Data and methodology
- Cheese and wine were prices taken from the cost of living database on Numbeo, using the capital city.
- Cheese ratings taken from the number of cheeses in the top 150 cheeses in Europe according to Taste Atlas, using the capital city.
- Wine ratings were taken from the average rating of the top 25 wines per country in Europe from Vivino.
- These four data points were given an overall score to get the final ranking.
- Countries with missing data points were excluded from the list.
https://content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad201058%20 (Iowa State University study)
Book a trip with TUI discount codes
If you’ve been inspired to go on your own wine and cheese trip, we’ve got you covered with TUI discount codes. Try a TUI all inclusive in Portugal, our wine and cheese capital of Europe, or head on a TUI Spain trip for the famous Queso Manchego. You can also check out the TUI cruises for 2021 to hop around all our favourite wine and cheese hotspots. We’ve got TUI holiday deals with COVID cover and fee-free changes, so you’re never left out of pocket. Be sure to check travel guidelines before you book a trip.