However positively or negatively we respond to its taste, grating cheese definitely intensifies its flavour. Grated cheese has a larger surface area than sliced or cubed cheese, which means your saliva has a higher area on which to work. This therefore makes the flavour more intense and varied. Weight Watchers advocate grating cheese: they argue that because it intensifies the taste, less cheese is needed.
On the other hand, grated cheese is more susceptible to drying out. To compensate for this, pre-grated (or pre-shredded in the US) cheese often contains anti-mould agents such as wood pulp (E460), calcium carbonate or potato starch. Anti-caking agents stop it sticking together.
The reason why pre-grated parmesan tastes of vomit is that parmesan cheese contains two short-chain fatty-acids called butyric and isovaleric acid, which are the very same ‘sweaty feet’ chemicals contained in our vomit and body odour smell. Grating the parmesan intensifies this effect. However, research by the Fragrance Foundation has demonstrated that when phials of these acids are labelled 'parmesan' people rate them positively. When phials of exactly the same material are labelled 'vomit', on the other hand, they get a negative reaction. So, perception plays an important role in smell and taste.
During Second World War rationing only two varieties of cheese could be made, known as National Cheese.
The British Cheese Board now lists over 700 varieties of British cheese – almost twice as many as the French. However, the French still consume twice as much cheese per head as we do. 55% of the £1.8 billion British cheese market is attributed to sales of just one variety: cheddar. The list of British cheeses includes such modern, marketing-driven abominations as Lancashire Christmas Pudding and Cheddar with Mint Choc Chips and Cherries. The ninth most popular variety, Cornish Yarg, sounds ancient, but it only dates back to the 1960s, when Allan and Jenny Gray started producing it on their farm near Bodmin Moor. ‘Yarg’ is ‘Gray’ spelt backwards.
Poets have hitherto been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.
Stilton, Roquefort, Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Camembert and Brie all contain penicillin.
Cheese can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, horses, reindeer, llamas, yaks, water buffalo, camels and zebras.
The UK produces more mozzarella each year than Italy.