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Dec 15, 2013 07:04 PM

Cheese that travels well unrefridgerated

I want to bring my cheese loving father an assortment since the stores near him are limited and I have access to some great ones.
I will be traveling for about 12hrs, and ice packs/coolers etc are not an option.

I *think* there are some aged or hard cheeses that will be ok. He loves spanish and italian cheeses- the stronger the better. I was a bit overwhelmed by the options and would love suggestions.
Also, the aged smoked manchego caught my eye, didn't buy it yet but if you have tried it let me know any feedback.....

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  1. Why are ice packs etc. not an option?

    7 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      Between the cab/airport/plane/other airport/plane/2 hour car ride the hassle is something i want to avoid.....
      And those grinches at newark might keep my cheese!

      1. re: Ttrockwood

        Given all that, why not ship cheese to your father?

        1. re: HillJ

          I'm flying out friday, so i'd rather buy more cheese with my budget than spend it on shipping fees.
          Any recommendations are appreciated- i trust chowhounders more than the random cheese guy.....:)

          1. re: Ttrockwood

   is what fellow CH's have recommended for mail ordering. this thread details the shipping program, Shoprunner offered through igourmet, that (again) CH's have found worthwhile.

            The cheese dept @ igourmet is quite large.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              I have never brought a large quantity of food with me on a commercial flight (and my hub's a pilot). I always ship food to myself to arrive back home. I don't want the potential hassle, the extra weight to carry it or the potential for smelly luggage. Melanie speaks well to her own experience, but that's not my idea of flying light.

              If you have a Costco at your end destination and are a member, you can shop for your Dad on his end and buy some wonderful hard cheeses at good prices. I don't know if this is an option for you, Throck, but it would work for me over lugging cheese.

              1. re: HillJ

                Thanks- it would probably be about 2-3lbs of cheese, so not too much. He's often at costco so i'm trying to being him some more obscure selections.

                Igourmet does looks awesome.....

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Oh okay, I'm trying :) Good luck!

                  Sometimes I head over to igourmet just to see what's "out there" and then I try and source it locally. I usually can. And the Costco cheeses have gotten a bit broader in NJ but I envy what some of the CH's describe in CA-Costco and elsewhere. NJ is doing much better though.

      2. Your instincts are right. Hard cheeses do the best. That said, I always fly home from Europe with cheese in my luggage and that will typically be 18+ hours without refrigeration other than the cold air in the luggage compartment. I bring home soft bloomy or washed rind cheeses readily, just be sure to buy the ones that are less ripe as the time out of refrigeration "force ages" them.

        You can bring ice packs in your carry-on luggage as long as they are frozen solid. Once they start to defrost to the gel state, they're considered liquid and will be confiscated. I have in some cases when traveling domestically with meat products started out my trip a few hours before flight time with a frozen ice pack, and then disposed of it if need be when I went through security. I save the inexpensive ones that accompany perishable shipment orders for these purposes. You can also get one of those inexpensive mylar thermal bags at the grocery store that will help retain your cheese at a cooler temperature.

        1. As Melanie indicates, hard cheeses and "young" ripened cheeses, e.g. taleggio, will do fine for that short time. I sometimes leave them on the counter, covered, for days.
          If you are really concerned about keeping things cool, I have carried on both a 4.7 liter and an 8.5 liter Coleman cooler. Dump the ice at TSA, ask for a couple cups of ice after you board. Easy peasy. No jarred or goopy stuff.

          1. Really most cheeses are going to do fine without refrigeration for 12 hours. If you can make sure they're wrapped in cheese paper and then maybe put everything in a zip lock (so that your clothes don't smell of cheese), you'll be fine. I carried a sheep's milk blue and a cheddar-type cheese through Ireland for 8 days in my luggage with no refrigeration several years ago. The blue was slightly blue-er when I arrived home but after scraping the cheese a bit, it was good (and tasty) as new.

            Cheese originated as a way to preserve milk without the benefit of refrigeration after all.....

            5 Replies
            1. re: Sushiqueen36

              Thanks for the tip! I never buy blue cheese but i know my dad would enjoy some- do you have a favorite to recommend?

              1. re: Ttrockwood

                I have a Rogue River Oregon blue on hand, somewhat aged and quite firm. A milder, creamier blue more widely available is Maytag. If you come across St. Agur, by all means go for it.

                1. re: Ttrockwood

                  Our personal favorite is Colston Basset Stilton for the holidays. If you can't find that producer, don't bother. Theirs is mild, buttery, nutty and creamy. It's fabulous on a fruit/nut bread.
                  Any of the Rogue Creamery blues are also great - their signature (and most expensive) is their Rogue River Blue which is covered in macerated grape leaves.
                  I also love Two-Faced Blue from Willapa Hills Creamery in Washington. It's a combination cow/sheep's milk blue.

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Bayley-Hazen is an excellent blue. And not quite as hard on the wallet as Rogue River blue.

                    If you have access to great cheese shops, I'd go (preferably at a time when they're not super busy) and ask them to recommend some cheeses, then sample them. They should also have some suggestions on how best to pack them for travel. There's really no substitute for actually tasting a cheese.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Bayley-Hazen is great but available year-round. Rogue River is made in limited quantities and not readily available. Those are the kinds of cheeses I love to splurge on this time of year.

                2. When my Mom and I took a 3 week long bus tour through the UK many years ago we traveled with cheese in a backpack pretty much the entire trip. We stuck with nice sharp cheddar because well we were in the UK and they were good. Whatever was local to the area, usually each piece lasted 5-7 days before we consumed it all. We did have a zip loc bag and if possible we would put it on ice (this was before in room fridges were largely standard) at night, but it was room temp the rest of the time.

                  I'd go for nice cheddar cheese, hard Italian cheeses, and basically stuff that was a bit older and sturdier.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Ariadanz

                    OTOH some years back bought a Vosges (Muenster) at a farm in the Lorraine area of Alsace. It was new and thus not ripe so l thought l would check on it daily until it got squooshy.
                    My bad, when we finally returned the car l suspect it had to be destroyed, never got squooshy but l have smelled less offensive post-mortems.