Cheese is one of the world's favorite foods. From Europe to the U.S. to the Mid-East and Latin America, countries around the world have their own take on this salty, creamy delicacy. In fact, Americans alone eat 32.6 pounds of cheese per year. However, its the Greeks and French who take the cake for the most cheese consumption- the Greeks eating 68.5 pounds per year and the French with 57.5. This consumption may be in part due to the huge variety of types of cheese. Of all the 2,000 varieties most come from cow, sheep, goat, or buffalo milk although cheese made from camel and donkey milk is becoming more popular. Cheese made from moose milk is even considered a delicacy in Sweden. And these cheeses are produced in various countries around the world. 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 aging. Herbs, spices, or wood smoke may be used as flavoring agents. The yellow to red color of many cheeses, such as Red Leicester, is produced by adding annatto. Other ingredients may be added to some cheeses, such as black peppers, garlic, chives or cranberries. So what are some of the best cheeses from countries around the world?
Italy: Pecorino Romano, Parmesan
Italy is famous for its cheeses, from soft mozzarella to hard Parmesan many Italian cheeses are globally popular. However, the less well known Pecorino Romano is considered the pinnacle of Italian cheeses. The make process is one of the most sophisticated in the world. It shows in the flavor, alternately buttery, nutty, and fruity.
England: Farmhouse Cheddar
Cheddar cheese is another widely popular type of cheese, especially in the United States and England. It originates in farmhouses in England and is a hard cheese, yet easily meltable and perfect for grilled sandwiches.
No doubt the most famous Dutch cheese, gouda is a yellow cows milk cheese. Known worldwide it is iconic in its packaging in larger, red waxed wheels. It is a semi-hard or hard cheese and is often used in sandwiches and various dishes/
Chhurpi is a Nepalese cheese made using yak or cow's milk. In eastern Asian countries cheese is not widely eaten, however this soft cheese has become extremely popular and can be found throughout the country and in neighboring Bhutan.
Manchego is an aged sheep's milk cheese and one of the most well known Spanish cheeses. It has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly-distributed air pockets. Known as a delicacy, it is eaten in extremely thin slices.
France: Bleu Cheese, Brie, Boursin, and more
France has more varieties of cheese than any country in the world. Many of the most famous cheeses in the world originated in France and have contributed to the association of elegance with cheese. Brie is the classic creamy cow's milk cheese often baked in a buttery crust. Controlled mold makes bleu cheese gleu and gives it a distinct sharp flavor. Cows milk boursin cheese is creamy and smooth and infused with herbs and spices and often spread on crackers and bread.
Central America: Queso Blanco
This cheese is the most common cheese in Central and South America. Is it a creamy, soft, mild, unaged white cheese. It is one of the simplest cheeses to make and is very similar to Indian Paneer.
A fresh cheese common in South Asian cuisine. In eastern parts of Indian Subcontinent, it is generally called Chhena. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheesemade by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids.
Feta is a brined sheep's milk cheese. It is aged and crumbly. It is the most commonly used cheese in Greece and is used in salads, used as table cheese, baked in pastries, grilled, or in sandwiches. Its versatility has led to its widespread use and popularity.
Interested in even more cheese? Click on this infographic to enlarge and read the following article to become a cheese connoisseur!
So what's your favorite cheese? What cheese is most common in your country? Did we leave anything out? We want to know!