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Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Around the World

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Is there anything more comforting than a good grilled cheese sandwich? Definitely not, in my humble opinion. As a kid growing up in the U.S., nothing could beat the melty goodness of Kraft American cheese nestled between two pan fried slices of white bread slathered with butter. My love of a good grilled cheese made me wonder if other countries have their own versions of this tasty sandwich. Oh boy, do they ever! Join me in this tour of the best grilled cheese sandwiches around the world.

Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Around the World

Cheese Toastie in England

In England, the cheese toastie is king. While its American cousin is slathered with butter on the outside, the toastie has butter spread on the insides of the bread and filled with cheddar cheese before being grilled. The next time you're in London, get your cheese toastie fix at the Melt Room.

A toastie is the English version of grilled cheese

A toastie is the English version of grilled cheese (Photo credit: Depositphotos.com)

Welsh Rarebit in Wales

The Welsh Rarebit (said like the animal’s name rabbit) cuts down on the carbohydrates by using only one piece of bread. A cheese sauce is spread over this lonesome slice of bread, enveloping it in a comforting broiled hug. The cheese sauce is usually made with beer and mustard for a gentle kick. While the origins of Welsh Rarebit are unclear, one English joke goes that the Welsh were so poor that they pretended cheese was meat (rabbit). I recommend the Welsh Rarebit at Wrights Food Emporium in Carmarthen, Wales.

Welsh Rarebit

Welsh Rarebit is an interesting variation of a grilled cheese sandwich (Photo credit: Depositphotos.com)

Croque Monsieur in France

The French make a fancy grilled cheese variation called the croque monsieur, a ham and Gruyere cheese sandwich topped with even more cheese and often béchamel sauce. The sandwich is broiled so that the crust is firm but the inside is all gooey deliciousness. The Croque Monsieur’s even more elaborate lady friend, the Croque Madame, comes with a fried on egg on top. Although no one knows the exact origins of this sandwich, the Croque Monsieur started appearing in Parisian restaurants in the early 20th century. Get your fill of these sandwiches at La Maison du Croque Monsier in Paris.

A croque madame is served with a fried egg on top ~ Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Around the World

A croque madame is served with a fried egg on top (Photo credit: Shobha George)

Panini in Italy

The grilled panini sandwich has been popular in Italy since the 16th century. This sandwich consists of two pieces of bread with cheese and meat or vegetables. The closest to the standard American grilled cheese sandwich is the popular caprese panini, a delightful combination of mozzarella, tomato and basil. According to TripAdvisor, you can't go wrong with a visit to Pane & Vino for paninis of all sorts in Rome.

A grilled caprese panini is the Italian equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich ~ Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Around the World

A grilled caprese panini is the Italian equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich (Photo credit: Ericro, Depositphotos.com)

Cheese Quesadilla in Mexico

The cheese quesadilla is Mexico's version of a grilled cheese sandwich, with a folded flour tortilla taking the place of bread. In addition to cheese, many people choose to add other fillings to their quesadilla like chicken, peppers and beans. Quesadillas Maria Isabel gets high marks for their plethora of quesadillas in Mexico City.

chicken quesadilla

A quesadilla is a grilled cheese sandwich that will make your tastebuds say, “Ole!” (Photo credit: Depositphotos.com)

Arepa de Queso in Venezuela

An arepa de queso is a split, grilled arepa filled with shredded cheese. Arepa, a type of corn bread, has long been a staple of indigenous tribes in Venezuela. For an authentic tasting of Venezuelan comfort food, head to Arepas de Los Armanos in Porlamar, Venezuela.

Arepa de Queso

An Arepa de Queso is grilled sandwich made with corn bread and shredded cheese (Photo credit: Depositphotos.com)

Vegemite and Cheese Sandwich in Australia

The Australians prefer their grilled cheese with a layer of vegemite. This variation is not surprising considering how much Aussies love their vegemite, a viscous dark brown spread made from yeast extract. It’s got a pungent taste that people either love or hate. Willing to give it a go? Pop into Two Tall Chefs @ The Cheese Shop in Melbourne.

Aussies love vegemite with everything, including grilled cheese sandwiches ~ Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches Around the World

Aussies love vegemite with everything, including grilled cheese sandwiches (Photo credit: jabiru, Depositphotos.com)

It's obvious that grilled cheese transcends continents and cultures. Although preparations vary, the blend of melted cheese with a carb-y coating brings comfort across nations.

Do you love grilled cheese as much as I do? Expand your grilled cheese horizons with Grilled Cheese Kitchen: Bread + Cheese + Everything in Between.

Or, if you like might like your grilled cheese paired with a tasty beer, (and who wouldn't?!), get yourself a copy of Grilled Cheese & Beer: Recipes for the Finer Things in Life.

What's the best grilled cheese sandwich you've ever eaten? Let us know in the comments below!

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About Shobha George, The Expat Travel Mama

Shobha George lives in London, England with her husband, two children (boy/girl twins) and dog. Although she grew up in New York, she has spent most of her adult life as an expat in Asia and Europe, which has been a great help in feeding her travel addiction. She and her family enjoy nice hotels, good food and other creature comforts. She is the author of Just Go Places blog. You can follow her adventures on Instagram at @justgoplaces.

Comments

  1. Geat to know about sandwich around in world…Thanks for giving an knowledge.

  2. This is the best post ever! I love grilled cheese, so I cannot wait to try a few of these variations. Thank you so much!

  3. It’s good comfort food isn’t it? I like all these except for the Vegemite – just can’t deal with the taste because it is so strong

  4. It’s such a good combination! I’d love to be able to try all of these variations! The Welsh Rarebit would be a priority!

  5. My favorite of these is the arepa. There’s a great restaurant that serves arepas near me!

  6. Nothing beats a good grilled cheese. However, I am curious about the cheese toastie. My friend buttered the inside pieces of the bread when we were kids and it came out tasting terrible lol.

    • The Brits butter their bread no matter what sandwich they make (or for toast) so I’m not surprised they put butter on their cheese toastie too. When I first got to London, I was shocked when people put butter AND mayonnaise on my sandwich. One or the other I think or it’s so unhealthy!

  7. Man, i feel like i need to try to make some of these now! I love grilled cheese and the one with the egg on top looks yum!

  8. Kassandra says:

    I will eat grilled cheese any way you give it to me. I’m not too sure about the Vegemite, but I’ll try anything once.

  9. What an amazing list! I wish I can try all these! My kids will sure go crazy! 😀

  10. Oh my! Cheese is really good. thank you for sharing this..

  11. Oh my goodness. These grilled cheese sandwiches all look so good! I would love to try the croque madame and the Welsh Rarebit. Just looking at the pictures made my mouth water!

  12. I’d like to try vegemite. I don’t really like Velveeta, with the exception of a grilled cheese sandwich. That’s how my mom made them and they’re so melty good that I still like one every now and again today.

  13. Wow, what a neat overview of a classic sandwich!
    I really enjoyed this post and plan on saving it to try some of the variations.

  14. I am living in a bubble. I honestly had no idea there was different ways people made it. I just do it the normal way and love it, I need to try some of these recipes! Yum.

  15. Grilled cheese is always welcome in my book! These all look amazing and they’re all worth a try too! I would gladly search for the recipes of these!

  16. Wow the rest of the world has so many great ideas for grilled cheese. I can’t wait to get my hands on some.

  17. Grilled cheese is an old favorite of mine. It is really interesting seeing some of the awesome variances on such a simple recipe. I can’t wait to try some of them for myself.

  18. Reesa Lewandowski says:

    Can you believe I have never had anything but traditional grilled cheese??? I need to try some of these!

  19. MY oldest is the pickiest eater. Always has been. When she was little we told her they were called “Girl Cheese” and she was sold. Loved them ever since.

  20. Is it safe to say Europe has the best grilled cheeses I see. I would love to try the Italian and French one the most.

  21. After seeing this post no more wait is possible i am fully hungry for cheese grill sandwich.

  22. I love this post so much! Grilled cheese is my absolute fav food!

  23. Interesting blog! I am also an expat, and we go to Italy every year. Mainly we get panini’s at the roadside Autogrill stops, which are great. Where else in the world can you get a great cup of coffee and really nice grilled cheese sandwich in a roadside stop? I live in London, but had never heard of the melted cheese cafe – although specialty eateries are all the rage at the moment.
    Thanks for sharing the info!

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