Curious about the history of cheese? If you’ve been wondering how this delicious and magical food came to be, look no further.
The History of Cheese
I love cheese. I put it in almost everything I cook. I love cheese so much sometimes I wonder if I was a mouse in another life 😉 But seriously, who doesn’t love cheese? And in celebration of National Cheese Lover’s Day, why don’t we take a look back on how cheese came to be. How old is cheese and how has it changed through the ages. If you’re also curious and want to learn more, just read this infographic below!
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The History of Cheese
Here’s a run down of every significant bit of information about cheese throughout history!
- Cheese consumption began as early as 8000 BC, when sheep were first domesticated.
- The first archaeological evidence of cheese is found in what is now Kujawy, Poland. Milk fat molecules, dating to 5500 BC, were found in strainers.
- Egyptian tomb murals, dating to 2000 BC, offer archaeological evidence of cheese.
- Cheese making was a true artform by Roman times, approximately 65 AD. Wealthy Romans had careales—kitchens dedicated to cheesemaking – in their vast homes.
- 77 AD: Pliny the Elder dedicates an entire chapter to the diversity of cheeses enjoyed by Romans in “Natural History”.
- 8th Century: Homer’s Odyssey describes the Cyclops making and storing sheep and goat’s milk cheese.
- 879 AD: Gorgonzola is mentioned in texts as being made in Italy’s Po Valley.
- 10th Century: Italy is the cheesemaking center of Europe. Don’t tell the French.
- 1070 AD: Roquefort, the “King of Cheeses”, is first mentioned.
- 14th – 16th Century: Gruyere is developed in the Alps of Switzerland.
- 1546: The Proverbs of John Heywood claimed “the moon is made of a greene cheese,” a phrase still used today.
- Cheesemaking supplies are included on the Mayflower in 1620.
- The first cheese factory for industrial production opened in 1815 in Switzerland.
- In 1845, a band of Swiss immigrants headed to Green County, Wisconsin—the current heart of Wisconsin Cheesemaking Insdustry.
- The wholesale cheese industry is born in the 1880’s.
- 1862: Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard perform the first “Pasteurization”.
- 1953: Cheez Whiz, a viscous yellow processed cheese food developed by a team of food scientists at Kraft, makes its debut.
- Rumored contents of the briefcase in the 1994 movie Pulp Fiction? Cheese.
- 2006: NASA exploited the “moon is made of cheese” myth as an April Fool’s Day spoof.
- 2011: The recession in Europe makes cheese the most frequently shoplifted item in Britain, according to The Daily Mail.
- TODAY: 1/3 of milk produced in the United States is used to produce cheese. The US is the top producer of cheese in the world.
- TODAY: Over 300 types of cheese are made in the US today by more than 350 cheesemakers.
- TODAY: Yankee Hollow Launches! Yankee Hollow curates cheese from the best cheesemakers in the US, and delivers it directly to your door. For $5 off your first month, use code HEARTCHEESE!
So what do you think about these cheesy facts? Does it make you love cheese all the more? Let us know below in the comments! 🙂
Did the history make you crave for some cheese?
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