Cheese has been around for at least 8000 years. It has been a great way to preserve the nutritional value of milk, and also tends to taste very good. Cheese has its origins in the Middle East. People were renowned for their cheese making skills. The Roman Empire adopted cheese and refined the process of making cheese into a fine art. They had separate kitchens solely for making cheese, and centers where people could bring cheese to get it smoked.
As the Roman Empire spread through Europe, the secrets of making cheese spread with it. After the collapse of the empire, cheese making regions became isolated, and developed their own unique types of cheeses. The dark ages were a time of little innovation as far as cheese making was concerned, as well. While monks kept the tradition alive through the middle ages, cheese became less popular, as it was considered unhealthy.
However, that changed in the early 19th century. The move towards industrialization brought a renewed interest in cheese, and factories began producing it. Pasteurization, the process of sterilizing milk, helped popularize cheese, as it was thought of as more healthy. Until the 20th century, cheese had always been considered a specialty food. Due to the ability to mass produce it, cheese has became a staple of most diets. It has also flourished in the types available. Italy alone has almost four hundred varieties of cheese.
Italian cheeses can be found at a number of local retailers in your area.
Whether you use mozzarella on a homemade pizza, Fontina in a fondue pot or Gorgonzola after dinner with a red wine the development of Italian cheeses have added character, taste and richness to most everyday diets. Cheese, like most aspects of life, should be enjoyed in moderation ? but if so it can be a healthy way to enjoy a bit of Italian history.