Ancient records indicate that making of cheese dates back over 4,000 years. Although no one knows how the first cheese was made. A theory that through the transportation of milk in bladders made of ruminants. The definition of a ruminant is an even-toed ungulate mammal that chews cud regurgitated from its rumen. Storing the milk in such a manner would cause it to coagulate separation into curds and whey. Though the original process may never be known by the time of the Roman Empire the art has become a highly valued process throughout Europe the Middle East. Hundreds of varieties of cheese were produced and traded across the Roman Empire. Many kinds of cheese which are well known today were first produced and recorded in the late middle ages such as cheddar in the 1500’s Parmigiano-Reggiano in 1957, Gouda in 1697 and Camembert in 1791.
France has a long history of making over 400 varieties of cheese. In its early days of production, it remained a local product simply identified by the origin in which it was made. British cheese making began about 2,000 years ago in Pre-Roman times. Cheshire and Lancashire are two that evolved into what we recognize today. As in France most of the cheese making was localized and done by farmers as well as in monasteries. Switzerland, of course, is known for its cheese, Emmental is a firm cheese with a pale yellow color and buttery, mildly sharp taste. Emmental features the characteristic holes typical of swiss cheese.
English Puritans dairy farmers brought to America in the 17th Century their knowledge of cheese making, Following the Revolutionary War, New York was known as the great cheese state. The Southeastern portion of Wisconsin was settled in the 1830’s. By 1850,s immigrants from Germany, Norway, and Switzerland arrived and coupling with American Pioneers stated farmstead cheese manufacturing. It took generations for Wisconsin to evolve and in 1868 Nicholas Gerber opened the first Wisconsin Cheese Factory. by 1910 Wisconsin surpassed Ohio and New York and became the number one in cheese production in the USA.
The invention of processed cheese in 1911, a combination of at least two different types and made popular by James L. Kraft who became known as American Cheese.
Here is a recipe made with delicious cheese.
2 cups shredded natural Swiss Cheese
2 cups shredded Gruyere
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1 cup dry white wine or nonalcoholic white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons Kirsch, dry sherry, brandy or nonalcoholic white wine
1 loaf French bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
1. Place cheese and flour in resealable plastic bag. Shake until cheese is coated with flour.
2. Rub garlic on bottom and side of fondue pot, heavy saucepan or skillet; discard garlic. Add wine. Heat over simmer setting or low heat just until bubbles rise to surface (do not boil). Stir in lemon juice.
3. Gradually add cheese mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly with wooden spoon over low heat, until melted. Stir in Kirsch.
4. Keep warm over simmer setting. If prepared in saucepan or skillet, pour into a fondue pot or heatproof serving bowl and keep warm over low heat. Fondue must be served over heat to maintain its smooth, creamy texture.
5. Spear bread with fondue forks; dip and swirl in fondue with stirring motion. If fondue becomes too thick, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup heated wine.
Fondue is French for “melted” Be patient when making cheese fondue, and allow each addition of cheese to completely melt into the wine before adding more. Serve with tossed green salad and make a meal.