We've probably all had that philosophical moment when eating a slice of bread, a bite of cheese or a glass of milk and pondered "how on earth did our ancestors work this out?". The notion that wheat could be milled, that cows could be milked, and that cheese could make any hot meat ten times more delicious are discoveries that demonstrate humankind's capacity for genius.
The origins of cheese are in fact said to predate recorded history. It's assumed that cheese came about as by-product of the practice of transporting milk in the bladders of ruminant animals (cows, sheep, goats), which inherently contain the ingredient needed to turn milk into cheese - rennet.
It's not decided upon where in the world certain methods definitely originated, yet these almost mythical histories account for the variety of cheese we see in the dairy cabinet today.
For a while, good cheese in NZ was only to be found through import from Europe, but now it's possible to find European styles made fresh on our own green land, meaning a truly authentic Italian flavour can be tasted as opposed to the flavour of Italian cheese that has been frozen and flown across the world.
For that reason, we're celebrating our country's cheese, cheesemakers and cheese recipes throughout October online. We'll be featuring traditional recipes by makers such as Il Casaro, alongside dairy-free alternatives in the form of cashew and macadamia nut cheese from Megan May.
We'd love to hear which cheeses you rate most highly, and where to go for the finest in your local area. Simply get in touch with us on our Facebook page!