Say what you will about the man who first decided to milk a cow, but you can’t say his decision was a bad one. Rummaging around the undercarriage of livestock resulted in milk, which in turn resulted in cheese, a glorious food that has been a part of the human diet since 8000 BC. A few thousand years later, when the Roman Empire was in full swing, cheese was a sophisticated industry, and now it’s thought that global consumption is fast approaching 21 million tonnes a year.
The popularity of cheese can be attributed to a number of factors. First, it’s downright delicious – with more than 500 recognised types of cheese in the world, each boasting its own distinct flavour and texture, there’s something for everyone. Another plus point is that cheese is addictive. No, really, it is: cheese contains the protein casein, which releases a morphine-like substance during digestion, giving cheese its addictive quality (ergo, a great excuse to eat more of the stuff).
While the Middle East’s contribution to the world of cheese isn’t on a par with Europe’s (halloumi actually originated in Cyprus), the region did bring us cheese manakish, for which we’ll always be grateful (especially after a night on the town). And, before you ask, camel cheese is almost impossible to make because camel milk doesn’t coagulate. Pity.
However, this isn’t to say that Dubai doesn’t have some semblance of a cheese culture. To prove it, we sent our team of turophiles (that’s the technical term for a cheese lover, before you call the police) across the city to find the top cheese nights, rating them on the variety of cheeses, value for money, the expert advice available (cheese know-how) and the condiments and beverages also on offer. Say ‘cheese!’Five top cheese dishes click here to view
Know your cheeses click here to view