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January 20 Is National Cheese Lovers Day!

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(PCM) Just thinking about today being National Cheese Lovers Day is already making me hungry!  It is about time there is a national holiday observation to give our beloved cheese the respect it finally deserves. Cheese is one of the most highly consumed and loved foods all over the world.

There have been many rumors about the origins of cheese, however the one that appears to have the most credibility is that an Arabian merchant first discovered cheese by accident when he put milk into his pouch made of sheep stomach and took a journey across the desert in 8000 B.C., there are also other legends that date cheese back to the year 6000 B.C.where it was made from the milk of cows and goats in Mesopotamia.

Eventually travelers from Asia brought the art of cheese making to Europe. It was incredibly popular during the Roman Empire and it was the Romans who brought cheese to England. Cheese-making was also incredibly popular in Italy and at one point Italy was the cheese-making center throughout all of Europe.

It was the early pilgrims who first brought cheese to America, as it was shown to be included on the Mayflower’s supply list in the year 1620. It was primarily created on farms up until the very first cheese factory opened in New York in 1851.

Since that time period, cheese production has hit an all time high and over 10 billion pounds were produced in the year 2012 alone. The two states with the highest cheese production are Wisconsin and California and cheese sales across the nation equal over $14 billion dollars.

Some facts about cheese that you may not know:

1. There are more than 2,000 varieties of cheese worldwide. However, mozzarella is the most popular and the most highly consumed.

2. Pizza Hut is the largest cheese-using fast food franchise. They use over 300 million pounds of cheese per year.

3. Cheese can help prevent tooth decay.

4. Cheese has been voted the number one food craving

5. Cheese can be made from the milk of many different animals including cows, goats, buffalo, horses and camels.

6. The only cheese that is native to American is American (of course), Jack, Brick and Colby.

7. The last week in June is National Cheese Week.

8. Approximately 10 pounds of milk is needed to create 1 pound of cheese.

9. The art of processed cheese was first developed in the year 1915 by J.L. Kraft, the founder of Kraft Foods.

10.The average American eats more than 27 pounds of cheese each year

 

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