Un repas sans fromage est comme une journée sans soleil!
Translated, this French saying means “A meal without cheese is like a day without sun”.
Just what is there in cheese that French people love? Or should I say, what is there not to love about cheese?
Americans love cheese on their pizzas, pastas and burgers and so do many food lovers in different parts of the world. According to the Centre for Science in the Public Interest about 23 pounds of cheese are eaten by an American each year, on average.
But the Britons are not lagging behind. In fact, the British Cheese Board shared that about 98% of British households buy cheese. Not to forget that in a survey years ago, English cheddar topped the rank as the most favourite of all the cheeses.
I can give you a long list of reasons why cheese is irresistible, not just because I’m a self-confessed cheese-lover. There really is more to “fromage” than just the velvety taste of Brie or the traditional goat cheese flavoured with herbs.
And what about aroma of the creamy and tangy French cheese? Just the mere mention of it can make a mouth watery, don’t you think?
But before I give you a rundown of what most of us love about cheese, let’s look at it from a scientific point of view…
If you have not yet heard or read about it, a study was conducted by scientific researchers from the University of Michigan a couple of years ago. This was about which foods are linked with addictive-like eating behaviours. Pizza topped the list and some presumed that the addictive properties of cheese made this possible.
According to reports based on the research, cheese, along with other dairy products, contains casein. This chemical releases casomorphins, which then binds with opioid receptors in the brain. As a result, as the person eats these types of food, he or she can be addicted to it.
While this made headlines, lead researcher, Ashley Gearhard made a statement the reports were oversimplified. According to her, eating cheese and consuming a lot of it does not mean it has an addictive potential. She said that high carbohydrate content, salt and fat in processed foods are most likely to have an addicting effect.
But with or without a scientific study to prove this, there are indeed solid reasons behind the popularity of cheese.
Why won’t we crave for cheese when…
• They come in different textures, shapes and types: hard, soft, round, square, flat, triangular and all the others in-between.
• We love to experiment and we always seek for something new. With over 1,500 varieties of cheese worldwide, including the 500 different French cheeses made from dairies and cheese producers from the regions, just imagine the many flavours we can taste.
• It can be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner and can even be a meal in itself. Of course, it also makes for a healthy and delicious afternoon snack.
• Cheese can be overcooked and yet still tastes heavenly.
• It is best paired with wine and eaten with bread.
• With different cheeses produced all over the world and sold in supermarkets, you can experience international culinary traditions without travelling far and wide.
• Even if served on small portions, it requires sophistication and etiquette to eat it.
• Cheese adds flavour to our recipes and can be used in almost any meal we prepare.
• Melted cheese on pizza and a cold drink while watching the game with your mates is priceless.
How about you? Why do you love cheese?