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Food Trends

Fun cheese facts for National Cheese Day

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Did you know there are over 2,000 varieties of cheese? (iStock)

Food holidays can be so cheesy—but this one really is!

June 4 is National Cheese Day and real cheeseheads know there’s nothing quite like cheese to satisfy a craving for something gooey, salty, umami-filled or just plain delicious.

So whether you like it hard or soft, melted or sliced up on a cracker with fruit, get to the dairy aisle of your nearest grocery store and pick up a wheel of the good stuff. While you’re snacking, chew on these fun facts about cheese:

--Cheesemaking has been around for nearly 4,000 years, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Though no one really knows who made the very first cheese, historical records indicate that travelers from Asia brought their technique of cheesemaking to Europe before the Roman Empire.

--Today, there are over over 2,000 varieties of cheeses.

--As a country, the U.S. produces the most cheese in the world annually.

--U.S. per capita cheese consumption is about 34 pounds per person—that’s more than one full ton of cheese during the average lifetime. The French eat the most cheese, putting away an average of 57 pounds per person a year.

--Wisconsin has the most cheesemaking plants in the U.S. with 90 percent of the state’s milk  being made into cheese—about 2.8 billion pounds per year

--It takes about 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing board.

--Mozzarella cheese is the biggest-selling cheese variety in the U.S., followed by Cheddar.

--The world's most expensive sandwich is Serendipity's "Quintessential Grilled Cheese" made with Caciocavallo Podolico cheese, a rare Italian variety made from the milk of free-ranging cows fed a diet of fennel grasses and wild strawberries, with a truffle spread and gold flakes. It retails for $214.