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Cheddar: An American Favorite

Is there any better guilty pleasure than cheese? Ranging from creamy, smooth marscapone to sharp, pungent aged cheddar, there's a cheese for every occasion. Adding to the guilt -- and the delight -- is the fact that cheese pairs so well with wine and beer.

Cheese-aholics might not be shocked to learn that one of the major proteins in cheese, called casomorphin, has been linked with pleasurable effects when digested, leading some to dub cheese "dairy crack".

Unfortunately for dairy junkies, however, most cheese is high in saturated fat, calories and often sodium. This diet-busting, artery-clogging trifecta has earned cheese its bad nutritional reputation, but it is not without its health merits; cheese is also high in calcium, protein and phosphorus and recent research suggests that it may have positive effects on rates of diabetes, dental health and even dreams. 

Although cow, sheep and goat varieties are the most well-known, cheese can also be made from the milk of yaks, buffalo, donkeys, moose, and some horses. The possibilities are seemingly limitless and led French President Charles de Gaulle to quip famously, “How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”

This infographic series will examine the history, characteristics and pairing suggestions for four of America’s favorite cheeses. This month we look at one cheese so well-liked that it has become slang for “money” in popular parlance: cheddar.

Sources:

Cheese Sales & Trends, International Dairy Foods Association
Understanding Dairy Markets, Agriculture and Applied Economics, UW Madison
Wisconsin Cheese Mart Strikes Gold with Old Cheese Discover, Huffington Post, August 2012

For a complete list of sources, please view the infographic.

Cheddar:An American Favorite
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