June 4 is National Cheese Day. Not to be confused with other popular cheese related holidays like grilled cheese day, cheesecake day, or mac and cheese day. This day is in reverence of the queen of all dairy, the big cheese.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL CHEESE DAY
Cheese making is an ancient, some might even say sacred, craft. So ancient in fact it predates recorded history. It is speculated that the magic of cheese making began somewhere around 8000BCE shortly after the domestication of animals. Archeological digs have found evidence of cheese around the world including strainers coated in milk-fat molecules in Kuyavia, Poland dated around 5500BCE, murals in Egypt dated at 2000BCE, and an artifact of preserved cheese in Xinjiang, China believed to be more than 3,000 years old! European Imperialism took their styles of cheese through Asia, sub saharan Africa, and eventually to the Americas.
The most popular cheese of all is (obviously) mozzarella. This delicious and pizza topping cheese was first created near Naples from the rich milk of water buffalos. At the time, it rarely left its home near Naples, as it was made from pasteurized milk, and a lack of refrigeration meant it had a very short shelf life. As both cheese technology and refrigeration systems advanced, this delicious cheese left the southern region of Italy and found itself traveling around the world.
There are two types of mozzarella produced within the United States — low moisture and high moisture. Low moisture mozzarella has a moisture content less than 50% while high moisture has a content of over 52%. Low moisture is made specifically for transportation and mass production as the lack of moisture gives it a longer shelf life.
Today, cheese dishes can be found on every continent served savory, sweet, melted, deep fried, and even chilled in ice cream. This household staple can still satisfy any craving after thousands of years.
NATIONAL CHEESE DAY TIMELINE
The Mozzarella Company was founded in Dallas to bring fresh Mozzarella to America.
Goodbye Mom and Pop
Factory made cheese surpasses the production numbers of traditional farm raised cheeses during World War II.
Jesse Williams, a farmer, is credited with being the first to have an assembly-line of cheese production in Rome, New York.
First large scale industrial cheese production begins in Switzerland.
NATIONAL CHEESE DAY FAQS
NATIONAL CHEESE DAY ACTIVITIES
Make a spread of some of your favorite cheeses to enjoy solo or with friends. Try working in new and international varieties you’ve never tried before. Check out Pinterest for ideas on the best meat, wine, and veggie pairings.
Take a cooking class
You may be surprised how many cheese themed educational experiences there are. Learn how to make your own cheese at home, the perfect drink and food pairings, or discover a new cheesy dish. With workshops, in person classes, and free online tutorials there are a lot of ways you can learn to enjoy this ancient culinary staple.
Whether traditional comfort food like mac n cheese, the tangy sweetness of cheesecake, or the contemporary refinement of stuffed pull apart bread there are countless cheese recipes to try. Why not try a new twist on a family recipe or search the internet for the latest cheese trend. You can start simple with a five ingredient ricotta cheese recipe.
5 FACTS ABOUT CHEESE THAT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND
Okay, not really, but dairy free cheese is definitely having a renaissance. Food experimentation has come a long way in recent decades offering up many plant based cheese alternatives you can find at major grocery retailers or your local vegan butcher shop (if you’re lucky enough to have one).
Americans cut the cheese
Contrary to popular assumption the U.S., not Europe, is the biggest producer of cheese, making up 29% of the global market. In order the top producing countries are the United States, Germany, France, and Italy.
Don’t forget the stomach
Rennet is curdled milk and complex enzymes found in the fourth stomach of unweaned calves and is often added in the cheese making process, as it is considered to make a bolder, richer quality product.
The most popular types of cheeses of today like gouda, cheddar, parmesan, and camembert, all came in vogue during or after the Middle Ages.
The long standing myth that the moon is made out of cheese may stem from “The Proverbs of John Heywood” back in 1546 which stated “the moon is made of a green cheese.” We now understand this to be more metaphor than literal, with “green” referring to the freshness or un-aged nature of the moon.
WHY WE LOVE NATIONAL CHEESE DAY
Expanding our Palate
We love taking our taste buds on new adventures! Today can be about trying so much more than cheese. Wine, beer, meats, veggies, deserts… all of it is up for grabs and we can’t wait.
New cultural experiences
As an international food staple, National Cheese Day opens the door to a variety of new cultural experiences. We love being able to explore new dishes, cultures, and traditions.
Sharing and bonding
We love breaking cheesy bread and making new memories with the ones we love.