Can I bring cheese on the flight?

It’s that time of year; the time of year when you’re flying off to visit friends or family for the holidays and the biggest concern you have is whether you are allowed to bring cheese with you or not. What? That isn’t your biggest holiday concern? Well, it happens to be mine (today at least).

Kathy and I have just about everything planned; people to apartment-sit and watch over Nikita (the cat), plane tickets, ride to the airport, and I’m worried about cheese. We’re traveling up to Seattle again where a great many of my cousins and their families are, my brother and sister and law are there, my parents will make it, and even my sister and nephew who live in New Zealand. I’ve a great desire to share some California cheeses with everyone…

You can correct me if I am wrong, but I believe you still can’t take liquids (more than 3oz) -OR- food with you into the waiting areas for flights as carry-on luggage. It is for this reason that I’ll be doing what I can to safely store, in my checked luggage, the cheese that I plan to bring. What I have is a small semi-insulated bag, and some non-toxic frozen “bricks” which are often used to mail cheese. I doubt it’ll be more than eight hours that the cheese will be away from proper refrigeration, and since we’ll most likely be eating it the same day that we arrive in Seattle, it should be fine.

I called our airline to assure that my assumptions about packing cheese in this manner, in checked luggage, would be alright. I got the green light, but I’ll admit, I’m still a little nervous about it. When you spend a fair amount on holiday cheese, you want to be assured that it’ll make it to your destination with you and not be confiscated by security connoisseurs.

So far, the only cheese that I know, without fail, I wish to bring is Truffle Tremor from Cypress Grove Chevre. I’m open for additional complimentary choices of your favorite Californian cheeses (preferably Californian, this time around) that I should bring to our relatives. Use the comment section to give some suggestions/favorites.

Also, Tami Parr, of the excellent cheese blog, Pacific Northwest Cheese Project, gave me some great suggestions of cheese-related stores, restaurants and some out-lying creameries in and near Seattle. I hope we’ll make a few cheese-related destinations during our short trip. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and don’t forget to serve some quality cheese at your feast!

November 25th, 2008 10:38 am

You bring the cheese – I’m trying to get my knitting needles accepted on carry-on luggage!

Lynne Devereux
November 25th, 2008 11:21 am

If you can find Silver Mountain (Bravo) or San Joaquin Gold (Fiscalini) they are both good travelers and don’t require much refrigeration.
While you’re in WA, be sure to recruit cheesemakers for the ACF 2009! Mt. Townsend and Beechers have been our only WA representatives for the past two years.

November 25th, 2008 3:20 pm

I’m doing not only all California but all “local” cheeses for my Thanksgiving table…local started out as being 150 miles from SF and has nudged up to 250 because I want to use Serena from Three sisters which is 241 miles away.
I’m also serving Bellwether farm’s carmody, cowgirl’s SF drake, and pt reyes blue.
I also second the nomination for san joaquin gold.
You could also visit the website for whatever airport you’re flying out of…I think they do allow food such as cheese through security, so you could keep it in your carry-on.

November 26th, 2008 11:42 am

Lynne, Thanks so much for your suggestions… I was swayed back and forth at Cheese Plus (on Polk in San Francisco), when I discovered they didn’t have any Fiscalini Bandaged Cheddar left, and almost got some of the San Joaquin Gold (clearly Californian), but then discovered that I could buy their LAST piece of Cabot Creamery & Jasper Hill Dairy Clothbound Cheddar.

Emily, Your choices sound excellent, and I love that you went with a “Slow Food”-type direction of buying local… I have to admit, I also bought a special Swiss cheese for Thanksgiving, but I’ll keep that one a secret until I can write on the blog about it after Thanksgiving.


December 9th, 2008 12:33 pm

Tried the truffle tremor after reading this post. Wow! Such a delightful cheese. Better with a spoon than on bread.