FIRST CHEESE EVER MADE
Legend has it that the first cheese ever made was discovered by accident. An Arab merchant from central Asia filled his supply of milk in a sheep’s stomach during his journey across the desert. The important enzyme in cheese making called rennet, present in every animal’s stomach combined with the shivering heat of the desert and the motion of the merchant during his travel caused the milk to separate and form whey and cheese curds. It is also believed that Arab merchants brought the art of cheesemaking to Europe.
According to historians, the earliest evidence of cheese making is found in Egyptian tomb murals. These murals depict that in 4000BC cheese was made by storing milk in skinny bags and suspended from poles.
In 40BC during the time of Julius Caesar, a variety of cheese was produced and traded across the Roman Empire. Farmers and landowners from Rome were the first to know about cheese making which was later passed down to the local Roman population. With the extension of the Roman empire, the expertise on cheese also spread, until it was known throughout Europe. The development spread across France and Italy, and soon enough Italy was the cheese capital of Europe.
Later in the year 1620, several pilgrims from England travelled to America. The cheese was an important part of their travelling kit and this is when the knowledge about cheese and how it was made spread across America. Soon enough Ohio was the cheese centre of the states and was called the “Cheesedom”.
The most important event in the history of cheese took place in the year 1815 when the first ever cheese factory was opened in Switzerland and by 1860 rennet was being produced in bulk which helped with the consistency in flavour and quality. It was no more a housewife’s job to make cheese, there was an entire industry dedicated in its production. Shortly 40 years later scientists found a way to replace recycled whey with microbial cultures. This made it available to the poorer classes and boosted production.
At present, there are over 2000 varieties of cheese available. You can eat a new cheese every single day up to 5 years. It originated in Egypt, even before languages existed and cheese has travelled the entire globe from Europe to America until it was universally known. If cheese was not enjoyed by the entire world it wouldn’t have come this far.
Go savour your favourite cheese with the newly gained knowledge of its origin.
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