On Jan. 20, 2018, people of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities will come together to honor National Cheese Lover’s Day. Not even lactose intolerant people are excluded from National Cheese Lover’s Day thanks to dairy-free cheeses. Throughout the strange day, people can show their love for cheese by partaking in the consumption of it.
While the history of cheese dates back to 5,500 BCE in the area that’s now known as Poland, it’s unlikely that the quirky holiday was conceived around the same time. Over the long history of cheese, however, more than 1,000 different varieties have been created to appease cheese-lovers everywhere. The United States, the world’s number one producer of cheese according to Smithsonian, producers 30% of the world’s total cheese output. When and where National Cheese Lover’s Day started, though, is actually quite a mystery.
The origins of National Cheese Lover’s Day may be unknown, but Jan. 20 does relate to “cheese accomplishments” dating back to 1964 when the world’s largest cheese was displayed at the New York World’s Fair. The cheese, presented by the Wisconsin Cheese Foundation, weighed over 34,000 lbs and was made out of 170,000 qt of milk.
We may not be able to trace the start of this food holiday, but there’s still an opportunity to celebrate it and show your appreciation for cheese. The most common means of celebrating National Cheese Lover’s Day involves, of course, eating cheese. With the wide variety of options available, you can stick to one cheese or mix and match from hundreds of different options. Whole Foods will be recognizing the day with a sale on many of its cheeses.
The process of making cheese starts with an unappetizing process of allowing milk to sour. The curds that form, or the solid pieces, are then salted and aged. Throughout the aging process, enzymes, fungi, and bacteria may be added to produce a unique taste.
Of the states within the U.S. most likely to celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day 2018, Wisconsin is the best candidate. Affectionately known as “The Cheese State,” in 2015, Wisconsin sold more than 3 billion pounds of cheese, beating out the next highest producer, California, by more than 600 million pounds.