On January 20, get ready to ‘havarti’ a ‘gouda’ time, because it’s National Cheese Lover’s Day!Have you ever wondered how the first human discovered cheese? We’ve wondered that too, and we’ll probably never find out. All we know is that it was love at first bite; when the first human tasted the salty, tangy, delicious goodness of cheese, they were hooked. And we can definitively say that human history was forever changed. Cheese might have had mysterious beginnings over 7,000 years ago, but it’s insanely popular today. In the U.S, one-third of all milk produced in this country goes into cheese production. It’s a multi-billion dollar industry! We’re ready to celebrate it.
Why We Love Cheese (and National Cheese Lover’s Day)
A. It’s in the science
Did you know that some of the components of milk help calves stay both calm and healthy? Follow-up fact: Did you know that these components get super-concentrated in cheese? (We know you didn’t. You can thank us later.) That means that, when humans eat cheese, these same feel-good chemicals are let loose. They can create an almost euphoric feeling! That must explain why we feel so fantastic when we eat cheese. It’s not because we’re stuffing our face … not at all.
B. Everything tastes better with cheese
It’s not just hard, melty cheeses that do all the work. A fluffy ricotta can make broccoli brilliant and a crumbly-fresh feta can make almost any salad sing. There is a huge variety to cheese, across cultures—making it a perfect accompaniment to any dish! So, the next time you go to the store, make sure to expand beyond the simple mozzarellas and cheddars. If you like strong tastes, pick up a blue cheese or a brie. And if you like to stay mild, branch out with a fontina or a ricotta.
C. Even dairy-avoiders can find something to love
As much as Americans love dairy-based cheese, more and more of us are avoiding dairy. Thanks to growing amounts of lactose intolerance, our brains might say yes, but our stomachs are are saying, “heck, no.” Thankfully, a growing industry in non-dairy, nut-based cheeses is helping to fill the gaps. You can even make your own, and all you need are cashews soaked in water, a blender, and nutritional yeast. When you puree them and combine them, you’ll get a gooey cheese that you won’t be able to distinguish from the real thing. We promise.
How To Celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day
1. Dare to go beyond cheddar
Get to know the cheese-monger at your grocery story, and get the slice on something new. Will today be the day you try that mysterious ‘cave-aged gruyere’ or give yourself over to the wonders of a Danish Blue? Whatever you buy, it’s sure to be delicious. It is cheese, after all. You can’t go wrong!
2. Be a Fondue!
A big vat of bubbly delicious-ness, that’s been mixed up with wine or beer? Yes please! This National Cheese Lover’s Day, try making your own fondue! It’s basically a giant vat of melted cheese—we think you can handle that. What are you going to dip in it, you ask? Buy an assortment of meats, bread, and fresh veggies. The meat will cook when you dip it in the hot fondue, and the bread and veggies will warm to the perfect temperature. Our mouths are watering.
3. Make your own
Ricotta (and the Indian cheese called ‘paneer’) are easy to make at home—and need little more than whole milk, lemon or vinegar, a big pot and cheesecloth for straining. Check your local stores for fancier kits that can help you try making your own feta or camembert. Now that really is baller! Heads up: we expect you to share it with us when you’re done.
Favorite Cheese Recipes
Martha Stewarts’ Favorite Cheese Recipes — Martha Stewart
A girl can dream, can’t she?
Your New Favorite Mac N’ Cheese — LA Times
Cider. Smoked Cheese. This is definitely NOT your mother’s mac n’cheese.
The Ultimate Guide to Grilled Cheese — Serious Eats
How creative can you get? Kimchi, blue cheese grilled cheese, anyone? Anyone?