A recent survey by Taste Atlas revealed the ten most popular cheeses in the world.
Show me a stoned citizen who doesn’t like cheese and I’ll let you take two hits from my Hello Kitty bong?
Whether you prefer soft or hard, aged or fresh, stinky or not, there’s no denying that cheese is much-loved and, for many, an everyday staple whether it’s on a sandwich, in a salad, a topping on a bowl of macaroni or smothering a plate of cauliflower. No wonder then that it has a day all of its own so that we can celebrate and indulge in what is one of the world’s oldest foodstuffs.
Cheese making is an ancient craft that predates recorded history. It is speculated that it began somewhere around 8000 BC, shortly after the domestication of animals. Archaeological digs have found evidence of cheese around the world, including strainers coated in milk-fat molecules in Poland dated around 5500 BC, murals in Egypt dated 2000 BC and an artifact of preserved cheese in China believed to be more than 3,000 years old. European Imperialism took their styles of cheese through Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and eventually to the Americas.
There are over 1,800 different types of cheese around the world with many countries having their own specific styles made from different milk – be it cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, buffalo milk and more.
Counting down from ten to one, here are the ten most popular cheeses in the world in 2023:
Made from cow’s milk, Camembert has a soft, creamy interior while its exterior is covered with a white, moldy rind. When ‘ripe’, it has an intense, pungent smell and flavour. Treat yourself to a baked camembert. Try this Garlic And Thyme Baked Camembert With French Baguette.
Aka ‘stinky cheese’ or “blue cheese”, Gorgonzola was first produced in 879 AD in Gorgonzola, a town outside Milan. Made with cow’s milk and distinguished by a blue marbling of mold, the blue veining is created by inoculating the milk with penicillin spores.
Made from cow’s or water buffalo’s milk and has a soft, crumbly texture. It has origins in India and Bangladesh and dates back to 6000 BC. It is often used in curries and, unlike most cheeses, does not involve rennet in the production process, making it vegetarian-friendly.
Similar to camembert but far from it, Brie is a soft French cheese made from cow’s milk. It has a delicate rind covered in white mold. It is important to let Brie reach room temperature before eating to fully appreciate its flavours.
Gouda is a yellow/orange, creamy sweet cow’s milk cheese from the Netherlands. Its texture ranges from semi-hard to hard and the taste changes with aging.
5. Parmigiano Reggiano or Parmesan
Parmesan cheese as it is more commonly called, is considered to be among the world’s top-quality cheeses. It is made with semi-skimmed cow’s milk and has a hard, gritty texture. Its flavours range from nutty to robust and slightly piquant, depending on how long it has matured.
Ricotta is a soft cheese made from sheep’s, cow’s, goat’s, or Italian water buffalo’s milk. Technically it is not a cheese but a creamy curd made by reheating the whey, a by-product of cheesemaking, hence the name ricotta which means re-cooked.
Feta is a Greek cheese made from sheep’s milk or a mixture of sheep’s and goat’s milk and is one of the key ingredients in a Greek salad. It is made in large square molds and preserved in wooden barrels filled with brine to keep it fresh and preserve its acidity.
A cow’s milk cheese, Cheddar is one of the most popular cheeses in the world and was first produced in Cheddar, England in the 12th century. It is a hard cheese and ranges from white to pale yellow in colour. When young, it has a smooth texture but becomes crumblier and gets a sharper flavour when left to mature.
1. The top cheese in the world is…..Mozzarella!
A soft, stretched curd cheese made with water buffalo or cow’s milk, Mozzarella is the world’s favourite cheese! The ancient tradition of making mozzarella dates back to the 4th century BC with the first reference to its name found in a 1570 cookbook.
Other popular cheeses worth trying
Other popular cheeses include Stilton (England), Edam (Netherlands), Manchego (Spanish), Pecorino (Italian), Roquefort (France) Gruyère and Emmentaler (Switzerland) and Halloumi (Cyprus)