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Flying with cheese

  • t

I've bought myself some fine cheese to take on holiday. Problem is, including transit time, the cheese will be out of a fridge for 20 hours. Any suggestions on the best way to carry it? I'm taking it in my hand luggage. I suppose dry ice will just freeze it? It's all relatively hard cheese: cheddar, oka and a hardish blue cheese. Or should I just carry it, and hope for the best?

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!



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  1. I dunno about airplane rules and ice packs, but they so sell insulated bags that will hold things cold for a few hours... better than nothing I suppose...



    1 Reply
    1. re: Dommy!
      California Sunshine

      We fly all the time with a small insulated bag containing a "blue ice" pack (frozen) in our carryon, and have never had a problem. It sure makes for a nice breakfast or lunch of cheese, veggies and fruit! This might work for you.

    2. Dunno about your bleu (or how fragrant it is) but I think hard cheddar will do just fine for the duration of any concievable flight without refrigeration.

      1. Don't worry about it -- hard cheeses don't need to be refrigerated, and soft cheeses can be out of the fridge for quite a while before they start to deteriorate. A fragrant cheese will become more fragrant, though, so you might want to consider the people around you.

        1. Thanks Chowhounders! A small ice pack it is, to be safe.


          1. I took a block of Cabot's Seriously Sharp Cheddar to London last month, unrefrigerated. Kept it in my hotel room to snack on with crackers and fruit. Brought the remains home a week later, still unrefrigerated, still delicious. No problem. I remember fifty years ago the local general store had a huge block of rat cheese behind the meat counter that was left out unrefrigerated for weeks. I suppose it's all that salt that keeps it from spoiling.

            1. p
              Peter Cherches

              I think you've come up with a great title for a book about traveling with food. Resonant of "Fear of Flying" and "Who Moved My Cheese?" the name will stick in the mind of the potential buyer.

              Link: http://petercherches.blogspot.com

              1. t
                torta basilica

                Often, if you ask nicely, Flight Attendants will refrigerate it for you.

                1. Wanted to revive this thread -- looking for advice!
                  I'm flying from Paris to Chicago in a few days and I bought two chunks of hard and semi-hard cheese to bring with. I've tried to find insulated lunch bags here, but have had no luck. Also, my fromagerie vacuum-sealed it for me, so I'm not worried about odor.So, my question is:

                  Is it best to keep it in my carry-on luggage or in my checked baggage?

                  I'm worried that with the warm temps, it could end up sitting in my suitcase, possibly on the runway, as they load it, etc. and it might get really hot. But, once we're in the air, it seems the luggage hold always stays really cold -- so, is that better? Or should I just keep it with me? Thoughts?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: anakalia

                    If it's a large quantity, I doubt that you'll be able to carry it on. I've done it through checked baggage, with hard cheeses, and it's been OK, the cheese travelled well. Generally, it's cooler in the belly of the plane. I also make sure I set the refrigerator as cold as it can get the day before I travel and for travel day, I wrap it in a few layers of paper for insulation.

                    1. re: anakalia

                      I think checked baggage is going to be cooler.

                      Hard or semi French cheese is going to travel well. We bought some at the supermarket in France the morning of one day; got the ferry back in the afternoon; stayed overnight down south and drive home the next day, arriving home in the evening. Cheese was fine but there was a ripe smell in the car that took another day to clear. Cheese was fantastic to eat - and just got better over the following 3 weeks.

                    2. You could do like Lucy did - wrap it in a blanket and discuise it as a baby!!