Cheese Around the World!

Updated: Aug 8

Cheese | World | 28th July 2022 | Virtual Wire

 

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Cheese is one of those food items that are beloved by many and ever so popular. Although exorbitant and extortionate cheese has been adopted into cultures all over the world each has its own variants of it.

Cheddar, mozzarella, paneer, feta and blue cheese are just a few of the more popular cheeses known globally, yet the world is filled with over 1,800 types of cheese. It's amazing how most of them stem from single simple ingredient milk. Milk is universal as it is not from a single source but the substance itself can come from different sources. When paired with local ingredients and preparation techniques it can be a scrumptious cheese we can indulge upon. We will be going over some of the lesser-known yet delicious cheese from over the world.


Ayib

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This is an Ethiopian soft cheese somewhat similar to cottage cheese. Ayib is present in many dishes mainly to balance the palette and soften flavours. It is made of sour milk after removing butter from the milk. The milk is prepared in a clay pot for a handful of days, where it will sit in high temperatures for at least a day or two allowing it to naturally turn sour. After that, is the butter is removed slowly and the remaining milk treated with several steps to finally get Ayib. It’s a very long and patient process that can’t be rushed. Ayib Gomen is a common appetizer made simply of Ayib cheese and spinach and sometimes onions and ginger. A couple of other dishes including Ayib are whole grain Teff salad and Kitfo.


Proveleta

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Many Argentine households can trace their ancestry back to Italy. There is some distinct Italian influence on Argentine culture. The same can be said about Proveleta. The cheese is similar to the well-known Italian cheese provolone. It is practically a must alongside Argentine Barbeque (Asado) which is reputable on its own. Often thick slices of Provoleta are cooked over coals till they get a distinct brown colour. It is melted down but not so much that it resembles a fondue. The dish is said to originate from the desire of merging Italian and Argentinian culinary specialities. Particularly cheese and meat. Natalio Alba is the man credited for inventing this cheese. Natalio’s family migrated from Italy to Argentina while he was very young. Having grown up as an Argentine in an Italian household and seeing the many Italians living there he felt obligated to do something to bring the two culinary cultures into a single dish. This brought on Proveleta. It has several ways to prepare a common one being alongside chimichurri salsa.


Sulguni

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Hailing from the Samegrelo region, this Georgian cheese has a unique flavour profile of being sour as well as mildly salty. The cheese by itself is very elastic in nature. The cheese doesn’t need a long time to age as it requires a maximum of two whole days. It comes in small disk-shaped wheels that can weigh up to 1.5 kilograms and doesn’t have a rind as it isn’t aged for long. A special way to prepare this cheese is by smoking it which then turns the cheese brownish and gives it a unique flavour. This cheese is used in several day-to-day foods in Georgia such as Acharuli Khachapuri (Georgian bread stuffed with Sulguni), Megruli Khachapuri (Cheese bread), and Gomi (cornmeal topped with Sulguni and butter strips) and Stuffed mushrooms with Sulguni.


Oaxaca/ Quesillo

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This cheese is named after its region of origin Oaxaca, Mexico. It may also be called Quesillo. Most cheese comes in the shape of a wheel but this being a long and stretchy cheese is wrapped around itself into the shape of a ball. With a faded yellow colour almost on the brink of white, this cheese is creamy, buttery and mildly salty. It is among the few cheeses without a rind. It is said to be slightly similar in texture to mozzarella. But unlike mozzarella, the cheese is made out of cow milk and not water buffalo milk. It is a rather difficult cheese to make as it requires experienced and delicate hands to obtain the proper consistency. Oaxaca is used in many well-known Mexican dishes such as quesadillas, empanadas and tacos. Its cut, melted or peeled to be added to these dishes.


Leipäjuusto

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Also known as Juustoleipa and Finish Squeaky Cheese this is a beloved and commonly used ingredient in Finish meals. The squeaky cheese name comes from the fact that when bitten into a fresh Leipäjuusto a squeaky sound is made. The cheese has a mild salty and sweet flavour. To make this cheese cow’s milk is used. Although available in pretty much every finish supermarket it is very rare to find it outside the country. To preserve locals will dry it out in a well-ventilated room until it becomes hard. When needed again they will simply warm it up and then consume it. As it warms up it lets out a splendid aroma. A very unconventional and unique combination with this cheese is coffee. Locals will add a good amount of this cheese into their coffee and enjoy the drink as it slowly melts and incorporates its flavour into the coffee.

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