Cheese in Belgium
Belgium probably isn’t first to mind when you think of cheese producers in Europe. However, scratch the surface and you’ll find that Belgium has an incredibly diverse range of artisanal cheeses on offer, from strong and creamy blues to light-flavoured soft cheeses.
Take one of our ferries to Calais, Dunkirk or Amsterdam and it’s a quick car journey across the border to explore the epicurean delights of Belgian cheese.
Header image credit: Martin Lopatka
All provinces of Belgium boast some level of cheese production, so don’t worry about hitting a drought should you choose the wrong destination.
In Belgium, much like in the rest of Europe, you’ll be able to treat yourself to a wealth of regional cheeses. Try Limburger in Limburg and Herve in Herve, but be sure to save yourself for the true jewels in the Belgian cheese-making crown: abbey cheeses.
Image credit: Ruben Holthuijsen
Belgium’s tradition of cheese-making harkens back to the rise of monastic production in the Middle Ages. This heritage is evident and many cheeses are still named after the abbeys where they were, and often still are made today.
This makes Belgium the perfect destination for holidaymakers hoping to combine their love of both beer and cheese, as many abbeys produce both.
Image credit: Bernt Rostad
This abbey could be the most beautiful monastic site in Belgium, and in a country full of stunning abbeys, it makes Maresdous a must-visit destination.
Maresdous is still home to almost 40 Benedictine monks, and is famous throughout Europe for its eponymous beer and loaf-like semi-hard cheese. Between July and August, you can get a tour of the abbey and between tastings in the cafeteria you can take pottery workshops or browse the souvenir shop. You can even stay the night at the on-site guest house.
Located in Postel on the Dutch border, this abbey is home to 30 monks and provides a great destination for the food loving tourist.
The monks produce their own signature Postel Abbey Cheese, as well as assorted dairy products and freshly baked bread. You can even arrange for a group visit through the Mol tourist office and book the abbey hall to enjoy fresh cooked food and the abbey beer – though this is now brewed on a separate site.
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Our Lady of Peace Abbey
Unfortunately for beer and cheese enthusiasts alike, the Trappist abbeys which produce these well-loved products cannot be visited as the order does not permit it.
However, local hotels and restaurants often act as visitor centres, and this is the case with Our Lady of Peace Abbey located just two-hours’ drive south of Brussels in Chimay.
At the Auberge de Poteaupré hotel you can explore the three Trappist beers and four types of cheese made by the 30 monks who still reside within the abbey itself.
Image credit: Turvey Abbey
Despite its broad range of cheeses and cheese makers, and its love of festivals in general, Belgium only offers one dedicated cheese festival.
The Fête du Fromage is a two-day festival held on the grounds of the impressive Château de Harzé in D'Ourthe-Ambleve, just south of the city of Liege.
Taking place in August, the festival showcases over 130 cheeses from across Belgium and the rest of the world, as well as offering visitors live music and entertainment.
Image credit: listef
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