Are you looking for the best fun facts about cheese? From the great cheese heist to why we love it so much, check out these cracking cheese facts!
Say cheese! No, we mean it. Say cheese now like you would for a photo.
It has been studied that even just saying the popular words “say cheese” before a picture is snapped immediately raises our mood. That’s because we are conditioned to smile after hearing those words.
It feels good to smile, right? And of course, it isn’t that hard to smile when there is delicious cheese around!
It’s the diverse and unique snack first developed centuries ago that we are still slicing, tasting and sharing today.
Let’s get this cheesy journey started, shall we? Keep reading and get hungry with these fun facts about cheese. We promise you’ll learn lots about cheese.
While the process of cheesemaking may turn some stomachs, what with all the mold and growth and vats of coagulated milk, the end product is one of the most scrumptious foods ever invented.
Cheese is also known for its diversity of uses. We can melt it on a hamburger, incorporate it into breads and sauces, add it to desserts, or just eat it straight from the block.
When a variety of cheeses hits the plate with a warm baguette and maybe an accompaniment of smoked meats and pickles, consider us transported to heaven. If we haven’t made it clear yet, we really do love cheese!
So how much can we learn about this decadent dairy product? A lot actually! Make sure you keep on reading our cheese facts, but be warned – all these pictures of cheese will make you hungry!
16 Fun Facts About Cheese
1. When was cheese first invented?
Cheese is pretty ancient. The production of cheese even predates recorded history, beginning well over 7,000 years ago!
Humans likely created cheese by accident by transporting milk in sacks made out of animal stomachs that encouraged curdling. What resulted was delicious cheese curds that then became cheese.
We warned you the world of cheese is just a little bit gross!
2. White or orange cheddar
A cow’s milk is white, so the end product of cheddar cheese should also be white, right?
Well, in 17th century England, the cows had a grassy diet rich in beta-carotene that tinted the cheese orange.
As the coloring was seen as an indicator of higher quality, other cheesemakers began dyeing their cheeses with saffron, marigold and carrot juice.
The orange color stuck around, and today cheddar is colored with the seeds of the annatto plant.
3. Weird animal cheeses
Okay, so most of us are well aware of cow’s cheeses like cheddar and Monterey Jack. And sheep cheeses like manchego and ricotta. But these aren’t the only animals’ milk we use to make cheese.
There is also donkey cheese popular in Serbia, yak cheese eaten in Mongolia, and reindeer cheese popular in Scandinavia.
The lesson: if it can be milked, cheese can be made!
4. The most dangerous cheese in the world
Are you ready for one of the most stomach-churning cheese facts ever?
Casu martzu is a traditional Sardinian sheep milk cheese that contains live maggots.
Considered a delicacy, the cheese is feasted upon by flies, who lay their eggs in the cheese.
The hatched larvae break the cheese down and create a soft consistency. The cheese must be eaten with the maggots still alive or it’s considered unsafe to eat.
5. England’s strangest sport
Cheese-rolling is a traditional sport in the English region of Gloucester.
The sport consists of rolling a nine-pound round of double Gloucester cheese from the top of a hill with the competitors chasing it to the bottom. The first person across the finish line wins the cheese as a prize.
Earlier editions of the game required players to catch the cheese, but it resulted in too many injuries and broken bones. If you’ve never seen cheese rolling before, look it up. It really is a crazy event!
6. Cheese by spore injection
Feeling blue? Perk yourself up with these fun facts about cheese, blue cheese that is.
Blue cheese is made by injecting mold spores into cheese with long needles creating air pockets. This process is what gives the cheese its signature veins of blue and green mold and its sharp taste.
One of the most popular and oldest blue cheeses is gorgonzola which was created in Italy in 879 AD.
7. Delicious Dutch cheese
Some of the world’s most popular cheeses come from the Netherlands. We’re talking gouda, edam, beemster and old Amsterdam.
Gouda and edam are by far the most popular Dutch cheeses and both intensify in flavour and hardness as they age.
Here’s two more interesting Dutch cheese facts: gouda and edam have significantly lower fat content than many other traditional cheeses.
And the Dutch were also the first to make smoked cheese too. Those Dutch really do love their cheeses.
8. Who eats the most cheese?
The top three cheese-eating countries in the world all hail from Northern Europe.
Denmark is the king of cheese with the average person eating 62 lbs per year. Following closely behind is Finland (61 lbs) and Iceland (60 lbs).
On the other hand, the Chinese eat the least amount of cheese, with an estimated 90% of the population being lactose intolerant.
9. Wisconsin: America’s cheesiest state
Wisconsin is world renowned for dairy farming with more than 1,500 cheese factories that produce 500 million pounds of cheese per year. This US state has produced more cheese than any other since 1910.
Cheese is such an important part of Wisconsin culture that fans of the NFL team the Green Bay Packers are known as cheeseheads. They even wear large foam cheese hats during home games. Go cheeseheads!
10. Cheese pride
Many countries are famous for producing one or more specific cheeses that are often a source of national pride. Are you ready for a country by country run down of the most revered cheeses? Here we go!
France: Brie and camembert
Italy: Parmigiano-Reggiano and mozzarella
USA: Monterey Jack
Switzerland: Swiss cheese
And yes, you’re free to use these interesting facts about cheese at your next dinner party!
11. The world cheese trade
The importing and exporting of cheese is a multi-billion dollar industry. In 2020 alone, worldwide cheese imports totalled $32.8 billion.
The top cheese importers are all European, with Germany, UK, France, Italy and Belgium occupying the top 5.
Interestingly enough, many of the top cheese importers are also the top exporters. Germany, Netherlands, Italy, France and US send out the most cheese each year.
12. Cheese can be very expensive
How much are you willing to pay for the highest quality cheese? Remember that donkey cheese we were talking about earlier? Well, it is also the most expensive.
The Serbian donkey cheese called Pule sells for over $600 per pound!
How about this for one of the more weird facts about cheese: Pule cheese contains 60 times the vitamin C of cow’s cheese and only 1% of the fat content!
13. Cheese in a can!
First introduced in 1965, cheese in a can, also known as ‘Easy Cheese’, is an American processed cheese product that comes in a tubular spray can.
The fluorescent orange cheese product gained popularity in the 1970s and was often sprayed on crackers as an appetizer.
Discontinued flavors of Easy Cheese have included pimento, French onion, blue cheese, shrimp cocktail, nacho and pizza.
14. How about a smile?
When someone stands in front of a group with a camera, the inevitable phrase pops out, “Say cheese!”
The term was first used to encourage smiling, as the word cheese when spoken lifts the mouth at the corners and shows the teeth.
Apparently, the phrase used to be “Say prunes!” when a small mouth was the most desirable for photos.
Once the smile became the standard, the word cheese was chosen to replace it.
15. Crazy for cheesecake
The decadent dessert made from cream cheese is so popular in the United States that there is even a chain of restaurants devoted to it!
The Cheesecake Factory has over 200 locations in the US and serve 34 different varieties of cheesecake including Fresh Banana Cream, Oreo Dream Extreme, and Mango Key Lime.
Okay, are you as hungry as we are? We need a slice right now!
16. The great cheese robbery
This is one of the most bizarre cheese facts: it is the most stolen food in the world! It is estimated that 4% of the world’s cheese ends up stolen.
One of the largest cheese heists in history took place in Wisconsin in 2016 when a semi-tractor was used to steal $70,000 worth of parmesan and cheddar.
There you go cheese lovers, 16 fun facts about cheese! Now go get yourself a slice, just don’t steal it okay?
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!