A splendid variety of cheese found across borders that are native to different countries, from Parmigiano, dusted atop the spaghetti platter to Grilled cheese sandwiches to our very own Desi version of cottage cheese kebabs (or Paneer Tikka).
The kind of cheese made in that particular land varies based on different climatic conditions, humidity, and the kind of milk available.
There are in all 1400 varieties of cheese!
The world has been gifted with a great spread of cheese over the centuries. Parmesan, Gouda, and Camembert originated about 500 years ago; whereas Gorgonzola and Roquefort came into being around 1000 years ago.
Although, the origin of the first cheese known to humankind arose about more than 4,000 years ago. All of this seems quite overwhelming.
There are many fables associated with who discovered it first.
However, no one can pinpoint the exact dates, or tell us who learned cheese-making for the very first time.
Nonetheless, the genius of cheese-making too was figured out accidentally, like every great discovery.
The story goes like this. An Arabian merchant was traveling through a desert and was carrying some milk in a bag made of sheep stomach. At sundown, when he took a pit stop, he figured that the milk had separated into an odd-tasting liquid, and a lumpy, curdled mass remained at the bottom.
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The rennet in the sheep stomach lining, along with the scorching heat of the sun, reacted with the milk to separate whey water from the casein curd. He used the whey water to quench his thirst and curd satiated his hunger.
And this is how it came into existence.
This gave the Arabs the idea of developing cheese, which then spread across Europe via the Roman Empire.
The Europeans then brought the skills of cheese-making to England.
Cheese -making was booming all over the Roman Empire.
Many of the wealthiest Romans even had separate kitchens in their houses to make cheese. Italy became the cheese-making center of Europe during the 10th century.
Archaeological evidence shows that cheese making was probably prevalent since 7,500 years ago.
Egyptian tombs depict cheese making murals. Around 7, 500 years ago, pottery vessels and possible cheese strainers have been excavated from Poland.
Over the years, we have tasted varieties of cheese – hard cheese, soft cheese, the one with a strong flavor, and other with subtle flavors and creamy textures.
Everyone has their favorite based on what suits their palates. But, all this just make me ponder upon what the very first cheese must have tasted like?