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Are these Italian cheeses really the best in the world?

The Local Italy
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Are these Italian cheeses really the best in the world?
Italy's Parmigiano Reggiano has been named the world's best cheese in an online ranking - much to the indignation of French food lovers. (Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN / Getty Images via AFP)

The results of an international ranking grated on French cheese fans this week, as Italian cheeses dominated the top 20 and Camembert came 91st.

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French food lovers were left dismayed this week as Italy dominated a ranking of the '100 Best Rated Cheeses in the World' compiled by the TasteAtlas food website and published online.

Italy's Parmigiano Reggiano took the top spot, followed by gorgonzola piccante, burrata, Grana Padano, Stracchino di Crescenza, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and Pecorino Sardo.

Only two of the top 10 cheeses were non-Italian - Mexico's Oaxaca, a soft white cheese, and Queijo Serra da Estrela, a semi-soft sheeps' cheese from Portugal.

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French cheeses didn't feature in the top ten at all. The highest-placed French cheese was Reblochon in 13th position and Comté in 14th. Camembert was 91st.

France’s hundreds of cheeses are a source of great national pride, and some French social media users quickly suggested Italy - perhaps Italian cheese industry lobbyists - must have rigged the vote.

French TV news channel BFMTV reportedly called the result a “crushing blow for French gastronomy”.

Meanwhile the most famous Swiss cheese, Gruyère, landed in the 29th place on the list, and Spain's Manchego curado was 22nd.

 

 

 

The UK fared even worse, without a single British cheese featured in the ranking.

This wasn't the first time the TasteAtlas website had caused a meltdown among French food lovers.

Last year, another of its rankings placed France behind America in terms of best world cuisine - and Italy came out in first place.

The website defended its methodology after it said it had received a flood of complaints, including from embassies.

TasteAtlas said the rankings always resulted in "a lot of angry people" but were based on user ratings as "people rate those foods (not cuisines) in our database" throughout the year.

"At the end of the year, we take the average of the best-rated dishes in each kitchen (so that France is not brought down by frogs, for example). And that’s it."

"No one likes that list, but it is a reflection of the valid voices of real people," TasteAtlas said.

"Don't hate us."

But even some Italian food lovers questioned the ranking, and said some of the highest-rated cheeses were not necessarily the best Italy has to offer.

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denverkava 2023/02/18 04:50
It's not clear exactly who ranked the cheeses, but Saint Agur's place at #94 is just absurd. The World Cheese Awards gave it the Silver in 2014, and the Gold in 2019. I'm sure the quality hasn't changed in the past 3 to 4 years.

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