5 Things we bet you did not know about cheese

What is there not to love about cheese? Grated, grilled, baked, sliced or even in a fondue, cheese is an incredibly versatile food source that has been around for quite a while. So much so that we tend to take it for granted.

You probably know all about where to get your favourite cheeses, but do you know everything there is to know about cheese? These five little known facts will come in handy the next time you need to impress someone at a dinner party, so read on and learn:

  1. Older than the written word

Long before people knew how to write out the recipe for cheese, they were already making and eating it. A scientific investigation carried out in Poland showed cheese was part of the Neolithic man’s diet.

Broken pieces of pottery found at a Neolithic site had small holes in them that were a mystery until new technology analysed residue around the holes. It is believed they were sieves used in the process of sieving milk to turn into cheese.

Romans loved making cheese so much that they had a separate kitchen in their homes dedicated solely to this purpose, which they called a “careale”.

  1. What’s in a name?

People who love cheese are called “turophiles”, which comes from the Greek word for loving (phylos) and the Greek word for cheese (tyros).

In 2013 in America, three baby boys were actually named Cheese! Some interesting names for cheese include one of the smelliest cheeses, “Stinking Bishop”, which is cheese that has been washed with a pear juice.

There is also another UK cheese known as Cornish Yarg, whose recipe was found in a farmer’s attic and the farmer’s name was Mr Gray. Yarg? Gray? Get it?

  1. Wheels and coins

Cheeses are still made in large wheels today and this is because before the days of mass transportation, they used to be rolled or “wheeled” to their destination.

In Gloucestershire, England, an annual Cheese Rolling Race takes place whereby a 7 to 9 pound Double Gloucester is rolled down a steep hill. The first person over the finishing line wins the cheese.

In Denmark in the 16th century, cheese was so valuable it was actually used as a form of currency.

  1. Excuse me, sir, there’s a maggot in my cheese

In Sardinia there is a cheese called “Cazu Marzu” that is made by adding a “cheese fly” larvae that hatches into maggots. As the maggots munch through the cheese this aids the decomposition process and, as gross as it sounds, this sheep’s cheese is considered a delicacy.

However, because the maggots are still alive and liable to jump up and into the faces of those eating the cheese, people wear eyeshades or protective headgear when they eat a piece of “Cazu Marzu” to avoid getting maggots in the eye. Sardinia has since made eating this cheese illegal because once the maggots enter the human body they reside in the gut and can cause serious illnesses.

  1. Not your everyday variety

Most of us are familiar with the fact that cheese is made of milk. The most common forms of cheese produced and that we usually find on sale in stores is made from the milk of cows, sheep and goats.

Those might be the most common varieties, but they are hardly the only ones. For instance, there is also a type of cheese that is produced using the milk of a moose, and in America, there has been a cheese that was manufactured using human breast milk!