The exact origin of cheese is to this day contested. Some sources say that it made its debut in the global culinary scene around 5500 BCE in Poland, whereas others believe that at approximately the same time, early inhabitants of central Asia and the Middle East discovered cheese when they realized that they could preserve curdled milk by salting the concentrated curds.
Over the course of time, the craft of cheese making—also known as caseiculture—became especially prominent in Europe, and through the centuries artisanal cheesemakers have refined their skills and introduced myriad varieties of cheese to Europe and the world in general, a tradition which has indelibly defined the gastronomy of many cultures.
Luckily for us, caseiculture eventually made its way to America. It was here, in the state of New York, that American dairyman, William Chester, stumbled upon one of the most delicious cheese-related errors of all time—cream cheese. Chester was attempting to replicate the French cheese Neufchâtel and, when he added cream to the recipe, cream cheese as we know it today was born.
To make a long story short, it was Chester’s failed experimentation that eventually led to the New York-style cheesecake. Our hats are off to you, Mr. Chester. In honor of your delicious mistake, we’ve selected five must-have cheesecake recipes to share with the world! Huzzah!