Is This the Oldest Cheese Ever Discovered?
When it comes to cheese, being old has its advantages.
Aging cheese removes moisture and makes it harder than younger cheese. This tougher quality makes aged cheese particularly well-suited for being a topping or a garnish.
There is a strategy behind the aging process of cheese, and the amount of time cheese is aged can affect the taste of the final product.
IFL Science reports researchers discovered a 2,600-year-old cheese in Egypt, but cheese lovers might not want to get their hopes up on trying a piece of this old cheese.
Large blocks of halloumi - which is made using goat's and sheep's milk and has a 'rubbery' texture - were found inside large vessels, and we can only imagine the smell emanating from within...
Blocks of halloumi cheese dating back 2,600 years, along with a series of other artifacts, have been found at the Saqqara necropolis in Egypt.
Dr. Mustafa Waziri, the secretary general of the supreme council for archeology, said that Ancient Egyptians used to call the white cheese "haram," which became known as "halloum" in Coptic times.
According to The Spruce Eats, halloumi is a white cheese from Cyprus made from the milk of goats or sheep. If eaten raw, "Halloumi is plain and somewhat rubbery with salty notes," with the ability to become crispy on the outside and melty on the inside when grilled.
The discovered halloumi finds itself almost reaching the title of world's oldest cheese, though that title belongs to a 3,200-year-old block discovered in 2018. Unfortunately, cheese is not like wine or whiskey and does not get better over many years; you'd be hard pressed to find someone with the stomach for this stuff!
Cheese is believed to have long been a part of the Egyptian diet, with evidence of cheese-making dating back 5,000 years to Egypt's first dynasty.
The blocks of cheese were inside vessels decorated in an ancient Egyptian script that can also be "found on the Rosetta Stone." The cheese could have been offered to mummies in the belief they may be resurrected, according to Director of the Saqqara Antiquities Area Mohammad Youssef Oyan (via Egypt Today).