Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 is National Cheese Lover's Day, and cheese lovers around the country will have an excuse to celebrate their love for the life force that is cheese. If you're so overwhelmed with joy for the holiday that you don't even know how to spend it, I suggest you take the time to learn a little more about your beloved dairy treat. You might even consider trying out some cheeses that you've never even heard of.
Cheese is kind of like wine — there are so many varieties that it's impossible to try them all. The love of cheese like the love of wine is a lifelong commitment and hobby. So while it might not be a possibility for National Cheese Lover's Day to try out all the wonderful cheeses of the world you might want to swing the other way and try out some of the wackiest, weirdest, and worst cheeses of the world.
No matter how much of a cheese connoisseur you think you are, you'll definitely be surprised, terrified or intrigued by some of these international cheeses that have ingredients or fermentation processes that don't sound very appetizing. These are the strangest cheeses you've probably never heard of:
The Strongest Cheese
It can't lift weights but it can probably make hair grow on your back. It's called Puant de Lille, or Vieux Lille and its translation is roughly: stinking pickle. Just to give you an idea of it's intensity. It's known as the world's strongest and most pungent cheese and comes from France. It's salty, it's bitter, it's apparently one of the worst cheeses in the world.
Mite Poop Cheese
In Germany it's called Milbenkase and yes, you read that right. The cheese is left out for months to collect the residence of dust mites, because their excrement enhances the flavor and color of the cheese. When the cheese is ready to be eaten, the mites stay on as a two-for-one deal.
It's so rare you've probably never heard of it, it's also so rare that it's the most expensive cheese in the world, coming in at $1,700 a wheel. Pule, aka donkey cheese is made in Serbia at the Zasavica Special Nature Reserve. It's apparently white, crumbly and delicious.
It's called Clawson Stilton Gold and it's made with, yes, you guessed it: real gold. A wheel will cost you a thousand dollars, making it the United Kingdom's most expensive cheese. Why does this cheese exist? Because, why not.
The Stinkiest Cheese
It's called Epoisses, it's made from cow's milk and it's strangely popular in France. But just because it's popular, doesn't mean its welcome — it was banned from public transportation because it's literally too smelly.
Sorry, this is a real thing and people in Sardinia, Italy really kinda love it. It's made out of fermented sheep's milk that's become host to thousands of maggot larva that apparently help to break it down and make it more tasty? Sorry, I can't — which is fine, because it's illegal.
You won't believe the origin of this modern cheese that's actually made of a conglomeration of different women's breast milk: New York City. Chef Daniel Angerer showcased a milk cheese he made of his wife's breast milk on his blog. While he didn't make it or sell it in his restaurant, he inspired a lot of people to experiment with the concept on their own.