The history of cheese, an essential delicacy in our life, dates back to 8500 years ago. There are various theories regarding its discovery. Some historians think that cheese was discovered when an Arab traveller put some milk in overalls made from a sheep’s stomach, and it turned into cheese by itself. In the history of Ancient Greece, it is claimed that cheese was first made by Scythians by acidifying mare milk. Indeed, traces of cheese were found at monuments covered with ice in containers made of goat and sheep skin which date back to around 7th century BC, the period in which Scythians lived.
On the other hand, some sources claim that cheese was first made in Central Asia. Tibetans think that Tatars made cheese before Arabs. Various historical sources assume that the first cheese was made by Finnish migrants in Mediterranean countries. Although there are varying claims as to what nation discovered cheese or made it for the first time, archaeological excavations revealed residues of cheese and some cheesemaking tools and containers that date back to 4000 BC. In the first times cheese was made, it started to be consumed mostly in temples, and later, its use became much more widespread due to the development rate of subsequent civilizations. Migration to Europe increased upon the fall of the Roman Empire, which led to a growth in cheese production.
Cheeses made there in monasteries created the diversity of cheese in European countries. In our own history, Mahmud al-Kashgari mentioned cheese in his book Diwan Lughat al-Turk. In addition, Yusuf Khass Hajib mentioned cheese varieties in his 11th century book Kutadgu Bilig. Many cheese varieties were discovered by accident, with local conditions affecting the process as well. The coincidences playing a role in the quality of cheese were used in the stages of production and therefore, each variety had an evolutionary development. In 1680, arrangement of yoghurt and cheese prices was mentioned in the Regulations of the Ottoman Sultan Murad IV. Likewise, tulum, kaşar and whey cheese were exhibited at an exhibition in 1851 in London, England which was attended by the Ottoman Empire.