History of Cheese

8 - 10,000 Years Ago

Domestication of Milk Producing Animals
The actual time and place of the origin of cheese and cheesemaking is unknown. The practice is closely related to the domestication of milk producing animals; primarily sheep, which began 8-10,000 years ago. The art of cheesemaking is referred to in ancient Greek mythology and evidence of cheese and cheesemaking has been found on Egyptian tomb murals dating back over 4000 years. Cheese may have been discovered accidentally by the practice of storing milk in containers made from the stomachs of animals. Rennet, an enzyme found in a stomach of ruminant animals, would cause the milk to coagulate, separating into curds and whey. Another possible explanation for the discovery of cheese stemmed from the practice of salting curdled milk for preservation purposes. Still another scenario involved the addition of fruit juices to milk which would result in curdling the milk using the acid in the fruit juice.

Around 100 BC

Cheesemaking in the Roman Empire
Despite the fact that the origin of cheese and cheesemaking is shrouded in mystery, we do know that by the time of the Roman Empire, cheesemaking had become a widespread, highly valued process practiced throughout Europe and the Middle East. By the time of Julius Caesar, literally hundreds of varieties of cheese were being produced and traded across the mighty Roman Empire and beyond. The Roman influence though documentation and trial and error also aided in refining and improving the techniques employed to make cheese.

Many of the popular cheeses we eat today, such as Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Gouda, are relatively new to the cheese story (appearing within the last 500 years). In its early history cheese was never a worldwide phenomenon. As cheesemaking flourished in Europe and the Middle East, North and South America were completely void of cheese and the art of cheesemaking until much later when it was introduced by European immigrants.


Manufacture of Cheese in America
Cheese has been produced in America since early in the 17th century when English Puritan dairy farmers brought their knowledge of dairy farming and cheesemaking with them from the Old World to the New English colonies. After the introduction, the manufacture of cheese in America moved from east to west mostly in the northern part of the nation.


Our Nation’s Dairymen Pioneers
The colonies of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Eastern Massachusetts were the dairymen of our nation’s early period. As settlements moved west, colonists from western Massachusetts, Vermont, and upstate New York provided cheese to the growing colonies. Following the Revolutionary war, New York State (especially the Mohawk Valley) superseded New England as the great new cheese state. Likewise, the New Englanders who settled in the western region of Ohio established an area that was very important in the American cheese industry. This western region of Ohio was nicknamed “Cheesedom” for over 50 years. During a period of 150 years, New York and Ohio contributed the bulk of cheese manufactured in the United States.


Cheese Development in Wisconsin
The southeastern portion of Wisconsin was settled in the 1830’s and 1840’s by eastern pioneers who came by the way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes waterway. By 1850 foreign immigrants from Germany, Norway, and Switzerland had arrived and started several communities in the interior of Wisconsin. The immigrants coupled with American pioneers from the east engaged in farmstead cheese manufacture almost as soon as they settled in their perspective towns. The 1850 census records reveal 400,283 pounds of cheese made on Wisconsin farms in 1849. Cheese development in Wisconsin moved from southeast to west and later to the north and northwest.


Located within the premises of Side Walk Jimbaran Mall, Gourmet Market is one of Bali, Indonesia’s prominent supermarkets. Gourmet Market offers a wide range of options, local and imported products to meet your culinary needs.

Visit us at Side Walk Jimbaran Mall to explore our exceptional selections at Gourmet Market.

Previous slide
Next slide