Have researchers found the oldest-known cheese in the Mediterranean, one that dates back an incredible 7,200 years? A study published in PLOS ONE may have provided a key piece of cheese production history, but it has also sparked controversy about the finding’s legitimacy, according to a National Geographic report.
The investigators, who had originally headed to Croatia to study food storage, found three Neolithic pieces of pottery that they believe stored either milk or fermented milk products. Based on previous discoveries made in Poland, the researchers believe that the pottery and tools found in Croatia are specific to the final steps of cheese production, when curds and whey are separated.
Detractors of the recent study claim that the samples’ isotopic fingerprints are dubious. More plainly, critics believe that the samples are not consistent with the cow milk of the period, and that the pottery may have instead stored a mix of meats. Regardless, the mystery continues, as researchers continue to piece together the long, odd history of cheese.
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