he art of cheese-making dates back at least 7,000 years to Poland, archaeologists have concluded after finding traces of an ancient vintage.
Chemical analysis of fragments of pottery believed to have been specially designed for creating cheese has shown that it was being made in about 5000 BC.
Interestingly, the earliest vintage comes from the Polish region of Kuyavia instead of coming from places like Somerset in Britain and Brie in France that are famous today for their cheeses.
By analysing fatty acids extracted from unglazed pottery pierced with small holes excavated from archaeological sites in the area, the researchers showed that dairy products were processed in these ceramic vessels. The nature of the sieves, close in shape to modern cheese-strainers, provides compelling evidence that these specialised vessels have been used for cheese-making.
The processing of milk and particularly the production of cheese were critical in early agricultural societies as it allowed the preservation of milk in a non-perishable and transportable form and it made milk a more digestible commodity for early prehistoric farmers.