Ooooooooooh, CHEESE…! I must confess, I have a predilection for the stinkier incarnations. Although, I don’t care all that much for blue cheeses, I find them a tad too acidy (though good for cooking, e.g. crumbled into in soups), it’s the medium-soft kinds, those that get really runny as they mature, which send me right up to heaven.
Unfortunately, they tend to turn into a bio hazard in the fridge, and leaving these feisty breeds festering on the kitchen counter in the quest for perfect ripeness will inevitably lead to an emergency evacuation of the entire apartment building…
So, which are the most cheese-loving countries?
Spearheading the cheese consumption league table is France with 17.2kg per capita in 2012. Not a big surprise, I grant you, but I did not expect the three runners up to be Scandinavian countries, namely Finland, Norway and Sweden, with around 16kg per head. Next in line are a more predictable round of suspects, i.e. Belgium, Switzerland, Greece and Italy.
I was expecting the Netherlands to be among the top five (probably because the German term of disparagement reserved for the Dutch is “cheeseheads”), but they are in ninth place with 14.5kg, not that far ahead of the Germans’ 12.3kg.
The US nibbled its way through (a most likely totally bland-tasting) 11.2kg, while Australia managed 10kg, Canada 9.6kg, and the UK 8.3kg.
Eastern Europe, for some reason that I can’t figure out, is all over the place. Bulgaria impresses with an appreciable 13.8kg, but neighbouring Romania made do with an abstemious 1.8kg. Totally baffling! Russia was in the middle with 5.4kg.
Many countries, especially those in the Asia Pacific region, do not have a culinary tradition that includes dairy products, and this means no cheese. Hence, sales of cheese in countries like China and Japan remain marginal. And who can blame them – rotten milk is somewhat of an acquired taste…
So, what’s your favourite kind of cheese?
[For data source, click here]