Written by Michael

Modified & Updated: 30 Jan 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Cheese platter food photography

Cheese, that delightful, creamy, tangy staple that features in countless dishes, snacks, and sometimes, even desserts. Whether you are a fan of sharp cheddar, soft brie, or robust gorgonzola, cheese has a way of enhancing flavors and adding a touch of richness to meals. But how much do you know about this versatile ingredient? Here are 15 fun facts about cheese that will leave you reaching for another slice.

Table of Contents

Origin of Cheese

Cheese has a history that dates back over 4,000 years. According to legend, it was discovered by an Arabian merchant who stored milk in a container made from a sheep’s stomach during a long journey across the desert. The rennet in the lining of the stomach caused the milk to separate into curds and whey, and voila – cheese was born.

An Astounding Variety

There are more than 2,000 known varieties of cheese in the world today. This diversity comes from differences in milk source, preparation methods, aging process, and the addition of other ingredients for flavor.

Cheese Platter
Image from Flickr

The Cheese-Loving Country

France holds the record for the highest diversity of native cheeses. It’s said that the country has a different cheese for every day of the year.

High in Protein

Cheese is a great source of protein. In fact, a serving of Swiss cheese can contain as much protein as a serving of red meat.

The Stinkiest Cheese

The title of the smelliest cheese in the world goes to “Vieux Boulogne.” This French cheese is made from cow’s milk and is fermented using beer, giving it a distinct (and strong) aroma.

The Cheese with Mites

One of the most unique cheeses is the German Milbenkäse, which is ripened with the help of cheese mites. These tiny creatures nibble on the rind, influencing the cheese’s flavor and texture.

The Hole Story

The holes in Swiss cheese are caused by bacteria that produce carbon dioxide gas as they consume the lactic acid in the cheese. These gas bubbles form the distinctive holes.

The Most Expensive Cheese

The world’s most expensive cheese is Pule, made from the milk of Balkan donkeys in Serbia. It takes 25 liters of milk to make just one kilogram of this rare cheese.

Moon Cheese

“Green cheese” is often associated with depictions of the moon in folk culture, thanks to its cratered appearance that resembles certain cheeses.

A Blue Cheese Fact

Roquefort, a famous blue cheese, must be aged in the specific caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon, France, as per European law, to be allowed to bear its name.

The Cheese Bank

In Italy, Parmigiano Reggiano is so valued that there are banks using it as collateral for loans, storing thousands of wheels in their climate-controlled vaults.

Rows of Cheese
Image from Flickr

Cheese and Sleep

Despite common belief, cheese doesn’t necessarily give you nightmares. Some types of cheese contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can actually help you sleep better.

Cheese Sculptures

Cheese can also be art! Some artists use cheese to create detailed sculptures, often displayed at food festivals and competitions.

Cheese in Literature

Cheese also has a literary connection. The classic book “Heidi” has detailed descriptions of Swiss cheese-making in the mountains.

Cheese and Pop Culture

In pop culture, the town of Cheddar in Somerset, England, gave birth to the world’s largest cheese sculpture in 2010, which was 1,322 pounds.

Final Word

So, the next time you enjoy a cheesy pizza or a decadent cheese platter, remember these fun facts and impress your friends with your cheese knowledge. And don’t forget, say cheese!

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