1. Cheese was created over 4,000 years ago-by accident
Legend has it the first cheese was created accidentally, by storing milk in a container lined with an animal’s stomach. An enzyme from the stomach caused the milk to separate into liquid (whey) and solids (curd). The curd? That’s cheese.
2. It takes 10 pounds of milk to make just 1 pound of cheese.
That’s right-and the best way to ensure that milk turns into delicious cheese is to make sure dairy cows eat a healthy diet. Cows eat about 90 pounds of feed every day and produce 2,604 gallons of milk per year. That can make a lot of cheese!
3. Some cheeses are illegal in the United States.
Because of safety concerns related to bacteria, the FDA has banned certain cheeses from entering the United States. These include cheeses made with raw milk and aged under 60 days. You’ll have to travel to France to indulge in these specialty cheeses.
4. Cheese caves are a real thing.
Storing cheese in caves, whether natural or man-made, helps to age them and imparts another level of flavor. Caves are cool and humid, which is exactly what cheese needs to age properly. European cheesemakers used natural caves before we had modern refrigeration.
5. Mice don’t like cheese.
Despite popular belief, mice actually don’t like cheese. Given the choice, they prefer sweets and carbs. Sure, they’ll eat cheese if it’s the only thing around, as most animals would, but they don’t particularly love it.
6. Lactose-intolerant people can eat cheese.
If you’re lactose intolerant, you don’t have to say goodbye to cheese forever! Just pick the right kinds. Aged cheeses have less lactose than fresh and usually can be enjoyed without discomfort. Think cheeses like Brie, Camembert, cheddar, Gouda, Muenster, Parmesan, provolone and Swiss.
7. There’s a reason certain cheese names are capitalized.
If a cheese is named after a city (or country), it’s capitalized. Examples include Asiago, Brie, Camembert, Gouda, Gruyere and Parmesan. Cheeses that aren’t capitalized include cheddar, feta, fontina, mozarella and provolone.
8. Curd sizes yield different types of cheese.
Large curds yield softer cheeses, such as ricotta and mascarpone. Small curds yield hard cheeses-think Parmesan and Romano.