Historical Food: Cheese from France


Approximate dates for the origin of cheesemaking range from around 8000 BCE (when sheep were first domesticated) to around 3000 BCE. The first cheese may have been made by people in the Middle East or by nomadic Turkic tribes in Central Asia. Since animal skins and inflated internal organs have, since ancient times, provided storage vessels for a range of foodstuffs, it is probable that the process of cheese making was discovered accidentally by storing milk in a container made from the stomach of an animal, resulting in the milk being turned to curd and whey by the rennet from the stomach. There is a widely-told legend about the discovery of cheese by an Arab trader who used this method of storing milk.

Cheese produced in Europe, where climates are cooler than the Middle East, required less aggressive salting for preservation. In conditions of less salt and acidity, the cheese became a suitable environment for a variety of beneficial microbes and molds, which are what give aged cheeses their pronounced and interesting flavors. Cheese has become the most popular milk invention.

Today France is one of the leaders in cheese production. French cheeses are considered the best, are the most famous, popular and loved all over the world.

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