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History Of Cheese Making Over The Ages

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Cheese making is considered to an art. The right texture, taste and flavor are important aspects that need to be considered during cheese making and have been prevalent right from the ancient ages. The history of cheese making can be traced back to the times when there was no tradition of documenting facts. The popular legend associated with the history of cheese making tells us of an Arab nomad discovering the cheese accidentally in his saddle bag which was produced by the fermentation of milk due to the hot blazing sun coupled with the motion of his horse. The history of cheese making over the ages becomes even more interesting when we divide the development of cheese making into different stages according to the time period.


                                                                                           


Ancient Ages- While the nomads of Middle East are believed to have discovered cheese making by accident; the ancient Greek and Roman mythologies speak of a different story. Greeks consider Aristaeus to be the father of cheese, while Homer’s Odyssey also makes a mention of the one eyed Cyclops being engaged in cheese making.


                                                                                


The history of cheese making was described in great detail by Pliny the Elder in his of book of Natural history which describes cheese as an important part of the Roman diet. The process of making and maturing the cheese had been elevated to an art during the Roman era.


                                                                                       


Post Classical Europe - Romans spread the knowledge of cheese making throughout Europe which developed according to the local customs and tastes in different regions of the continent during the middle ages. The British Cheese Board puts the total number of cheese varieties available in UK at 700 with many distinguished types originating in Italy and France as well.


                                                                                               


Modern Era - Cheese making spread to other parts of the world during the years of European Imperialism but it was considered as an exotic food item mostly and not a part of the daily cuisines except in Europe, Middle East and America.


                                                                                          


The first commercial production of cheeses started in 1815 with a factory being set up in Switzerland, but it was in America where commercial and processed cheese really took off.


                                                                                                                     


The factory made cheeses gained in popularity after World War II and Europe and America continues to be the largest manufacturers of cheese to this day.


                                                                               


Image Courtesy: olamonastery.org

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