Many speculate cheese to have been around for almost 5,000 years with evidence of its manufacturing in Egyptian murals. We’re still piecing together our history, so it could date back even further. It’s a shame that we don’t know who to thank for inventing cheese, as it has now become a staple for modern cuisine. We all have our favorites but ever wonder what the most popular cheeses are currently in the world? Ever wonder where your favorite ranks or just looking for some new cheese to try? Well, here is your opportunity.
10 Most Popular Cheeses
Here is the list of the most popular cheeses all over the world for 2020:
Yes right, this cheese is French and its name came from the village in which it was first made. Epoisses cheese comes from cow’s milk and is a softer paste than the other harder cheeses. Despite its popularity, there seems to be a halt of its production after World War II due to lack of available dairy businessmen because of so many deaths during the war. Luckily around 1956, Robert and Simone Berthaut decided to pick up the production of this dearly loved cheese. Since then, its popularity has continued to grow. Unfortunately, the United States ban it because it contains raw milk, which the FDA has deemed unsafe and therefore illegal.
Gorgonzola, a milder-tasting blue cheese, originally from Italy and with unskimmed cow’s milk. It is typically aged 3-4 months, and during this process, holes are poked in the cheese periodically to create air holes that allow mold to form. Its taste becomes sharper as the aging process becomes longer. There are different ways of its consumption. Some people like to crumble it on their salad or steak, while others use it as blue cheese dressing frequently drizzled on salads or used to dip buffalo wings. Gorgonzola is easily digestible and does not contain gluten or lactose due to its fermentation process.
Produced in the La Mancha region of Spain, Manchego is a semi-soft, pale yellow cheese. It’s authentic if it comes from La Mancha and made from sheep’s milk. You may pasteurize or unpasteurize the milk depending on its production. It features a distinctive basket weave pattern on the inedible rind which makes it easy to identify. Aging Manchego cheese can be anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years depending on the desired flavor. It is eaten locally after only aging 2 weeks for a rich and mild taste. After 1-2 years, the flavor becomes sharp but leaves a sweet aftertaste. While there are many kinds of cheese similar to Manchego, this cheese can’t legally label “Manchego” without following all local protocols for authenticity in La Mancha.
Originating in Italy, Mozzarella is a curd cheese that traditionally came from the milk of water buffalos. However, since they are only herded in very few countries, most of the mozzarella cheese we see today comes from cow’s milk. Unlike most other cheeses, Mozzarella is eaten fresh and usually consumed within a few hours after manufacturing. It is available in a water solution so that it can retain its moisture. This will keep your cheese good for a few days, but it is advisable to eat it within 2-3 days after buying to ensure freshness. The older mozzarella cheese gets, the more bitter it will become. It is also high in water content and therefore low in fat. You’ll commonly see its manufacturing at home because of the simple process used to make it.
Feta is a Greek cheese traditionally made from a combination of goat and sheep milk. White in color, this cheese can also be made using cow’s milk instead of goat. While Feta naturally tastes salty, the saltiness can be enhanced drastically with the brine solution that it is stored in. So, the longer Feta cheese sits in the brine, the saltier it will taste. To remove some of that, it is common for people to rinse the cheese in water before consumption. The age of the cheese also changes the texture, with it becoming harder over time. Most of the packaged Feta you see in stores has been aged about 2 months. It is a common table cheese, and you’ll be familiar with it if you love a good Greek salad.
Gruyere is a hard cheese named after the Swiss Village which it originated. Made from unpasteurized cow’s milk, this cheese is mostly sweet and just a little salty. It also has a natural brown rind which is very hard and dry. Gruyere is a dark yellow cheese that is very dense and compact. When not aged long, it is more creamy, but after aging longer it becomes more dense, earthy, and grainy. This is a cheese whose flavor becomes a lot more complex as it ages. It can be aged anywhere from 5 to 18 months depending on the desired flavor and consistency.
This French cheese is often called “The Queen of Cheeses.” Named after its region of origination in France, Brie is a soft cheese made of unpasteurized cow’s milk. Brie as we know it in the United States is very different from the Brie that the locals experience in France. Brie that we eat here in the US is stabilized, meaning that it no longer will age and mature. This gives it longer shelf life.
However, the unstabilized or “Real” French Brie is far more complex. Instead of being white, the “Real” Brie is brown when matured. The Brie that we know here in the US is normally aged for a minimum of 4 weeks. It is advisable to eat Brie at room temperature to enjoy the true taste, and it is commonly served with desserts like ice cream. It is a mild cheese that can be sweet or salty depending on its manufacturing.
Roquefort is a French cheese from unpasteurized sheep’s milk. It is a moist yet crumbly cheese identifiable for its visible blue mold that provides a sharp taste and pungent smell. In order to be authentic, Roquefort only comes in the caves to the south of France. It is said that this cheese was a favorite for Emperor Charlemagne and clearly many others. This blue cheese is aged for 5 months and tends to pair well with fruit as it is sharp and tangy. It is also commonly used in salad dressings. Roquefort, just like Epoisses, is unfortunately banned in the US due to being made with raw milk.
2. Parmigiano Reggiano:
More commonly known as Parmesan, this cheese originated in Italy and is aged anywhere from 12 to 36 months. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk and named after the provinces in which it is produced. The name Parmigiano Reggiano is reserved for the authentic cheese coming from certain Italian provinces. So, many kinds of cheese that are similar but don’t write meet the qualifications are simply called Parmesan instead. True Parmesan cheese is sharp but fruity, however, non-authentic options may taste significantly different depending on how it is made. For example, if your Parmesan tastes bitter, it is most likely not authentic Parmigiano Reggiano. Parmesan cheese is normally dense and grainy, and it is commonly used in pasta dishes, soups, and risotto.
1. English Cheddar:
The most popular cheese in the world for the year 2020 is English cheddar cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar, there is now a worldwide production for this cheese. Cheddar is a hard cheese that has a slightly crumbly texture if cured correctly. It is commonly white, but can also be orange with added colors. Cheddar cheese comes from pasteurized cow’s milk. The name is not protected like the other cheeses which means that any manufacturer can label their cheese as “Cheddar” without facing any legal issues which might be part of the reason that it is the most popular cheese. The aging process is from 9 to 24 months and tastes sharper the longer it ages.
That’s the top 10 list of most popular cheeses in the world for 2020. It’s a shame that 2 out of 10 are illegal in the US, but it gives me a good reason to plan a trip to France in the near future. How did your favorite cheese rank in the list of the most popular cheeses?
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