NATIONAL CHEESE LOVER’S DAY
On National Cheese Lover’s Day, don’t feel bleu, throw a feta or act capriciously. January 20th is a gouda day to kummin over and have some cheddar or asiago or fontina!
There is no firm evidence of how humans discovered cheese making. But legend tells us it was likely that someone created the first cheese by chance. Thousands of years ago, people transported milk and stored it in sheep’s stomachs. Left to sit a few days, the proteins would separate into curds and whey. From there, preserving the solids with salt may have seemed a logical next step. Salt was a highly valued preservative in ancient times.
The earliest record of cheese making dates back to 5,500 BCE in what is now Poland. Today there are over 1,400 varieties of cheese.
Basic Cheese Making
The basic principles behind making cheese are quite simple. Let the milk sour (or scientifically, coagulating the casein protein). Then separate the curds (solids) from the whey (liquid). The curds are then salted and left to age.
Bacteria, enzymes, or fungi may be added at various stages. These and the type of milk, temperature, time, and moisture are all controlled to produce the desired taste, color, and texture. Cheesemakers also add herbs and spices for additional variety and flavor.
The nutritional value of cheese varies depending on the variety. Cottage and mozzarella cheese are at the lower end of fat and calories per serving, while mascarpone and cream cheese pack it on. Marscapone makes desserts like tiramisu rich and creamy.
For the Love of Cheese
For cheese lovers who think one day is just not enough to celebrate cheese, National Day Calendar presents a calendar full of cheesy celebrations. There are 18 other cheese-specific holidays on the calendar. Check out this shortlist of tasty cheese-based celebrations:
- Cream Cheese Brownie Day (February 10)
- Cheese Doodle Day (March 5)
- Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day (April 12)
- Cheese Souffle Day (May 18)
- Cheese Day (June 4)
- Cheesecake Day (July 30 – along with three other flavors on the calendar)
- Goat Cheese Month (August)
- String Cheese Day (September 20)
- Moldy Cheese Day (October 9)
- Nachos Day (November 6)
- Sangria Day (December 20 – wine and cheese always go together)
HOW TO OBSERVE #CheeseLoversDay
Enjoy some cheese with your lunch or as a snack. Share your favorite cheesy recipes or puns. Try a new cheese pairing. Visit your favorite cheesemonger, and be sure to give a shout-out, too. Use #CheeseLoversDay to post on social media.
NATIONAL CHEESE LOVER’S DAY HISTORY
National Day Calendar continues to research the origins of this cheese-loving day.
Cheese Lover’s FAQ
Q. How much whey is produced when making cheese?
A. One pound of cheese can produce up to 96 fluid ounces of whey.
Q. Now, whey-t a minute. What happens to all that whey?
A. Whey is protein-rich. Many farms added whey to animal feed. However, whey is also used as a protein supplement in powders and nutrition bars.
Q. What is squeaky cheese?
A. Squeaky cheese is a young (it’s not aged for very long) cheddar cheese that comes in these delicious nuggets called cheese curds. When the cheese curds are genuinely fresh, they squeak a little when you bite into them.