Although its unclear where National Cheese Lover’s Day originates from, it does lead to cool finds around the web. The latest is this interactive map posted by the Smithsonian, the perfect Internet wormhole for cheese lovers or anyone else wanting to learn more about cheese consumed and produced around the world.
The US produces more than 30 percent of the world’s cheese production, more than any other nation. Perhaps more impressive than percentage is the pure volume produced: the US churns out 11.7 billion tons of cheese a year. For reference, the numbers for 2014 provided by the USDA peg US cheese production at 950 million pounds for the month of November alone. Who comes in second? Germany, at 4.6 billion tons a year.
All this information and more can be found on this nifty interactive map. Ever wanted to know the most popular cheese in Afghanistan? That would be Serat, which comes from a sheep and is dipped in wax for preservation purposes. Or you could look into the cheese produced in Iceland, Skyr, which is sometimes incorrectly advertised as a yogurt and first developed by the Vikings.
See the types of animals that create cheese in various parts of the world: cows, goats, water buffalo, and even camel. (For anyone who doesn’t know, camel milk and cheese might be the new thing you want to try.)
Or discover the truth of global cheese consumption: It might come as a surprise to nobody that France is at the top of the list for cheese consumers. The average person in France ate 57.8 pounds of cheese in 2012, which comes to more than a pound of cheese a week. Mongolia, on the other hand, consumed less than a pound of cheese per person in 2012, coming in at 0.7 pounds.
Use the map to simply learn more about cheese or to plan your next vacation to hit up these cheese hot spots!