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If you are cheese lover, a turophile, you can probably rattle off a tremendous number of cheese including the top favorites - Cheddar, Mozzarrella, Monterey Jack, Gouda, and countless others ... The production of cheese predates recorded history, beginning well over 7,000 years ago. The Romans, fond of cheeses, ironically considered other dairy products, milk-drinking and butter production, as evidence of barbarism, which they particularly noted in the Germanic and Celtic regions. Most regions throughout history prized their regional cheeses and cheese making techniques and often gave cheeses as special gifts. During the celebration of her wedding toPrince Albert in 1840, Queen Victoria received the gift of a 1250-pound, 9-foot-diameter cheddar. It was produced by a cooperative of cheesemakers from two villages. According to a cheese historian, "Perhaps baffled by how to serve it, she sent the cheese off on a tour of England,” and “When attempts were made to return it to her, she refused to take it back.” Today, if you are looking for something eye-catching to set on your buffet table, you can enlist the talents of a small number professional cheese sculptors who carve cheese for parties, weddings, corporate functions, state fairs, and dairy-association events! Don't forget the crackers! 🧀
The perfect tartan for the modern-day cheesemonger, all you need with your kilt would be a sporran full of crackers.
This tartan designed by Carol A.L. Martin evokes the colours of rich ripe cheeses as well as the cracked pepper and poppy seeds of accompanying crackers on a well-laden cheese board.
Over a thousand types of cheese exist and are currently produced in various countries. Their styles, textures and flavors depend on the origin of the milk (including the animal's diet), whether they have been pasteurized, the butterfat content, the bacteria and mold, the processing, and how long they have been aged.
The word cheese comes from Latin caseus, from which the modern word casein (for milk protein) is also derived. The earliest source comes from a root word which means "to ferment, become sour". This gave rise to chese (in Middle English) and cīese or cēse (in Old English).
When the Romans began to make hard cheeses for their legionaries' supplies, they begin to use a new word - formaticum, from caseus formatus, or "molded cheese" (as in "formed". From this we get the French fromage, standard Italian formaggio, Catalan formatge, and Breton fourmaj. Other Romance languages, Spanish, Portuguese, Romanian, Tuscan and Southern Italian dialects use words derived from caseus (queso, queijo, caș and caso for example).
The word cheese itself is occasionally employed in a sense that means "molded" or "formed". Head cheese uses the word in this sense. The term "cheese" is also used as a noun, verb and adjective in a number of figurative expressions (e.g., "the big cheese", "to be cheesed off" and "cheesy lyrics").
For more on fascinating cheese facts, click the painting by Floris Claesz van Dyck, Still Life with Cheese, c. 1615.