People had blue cheese and beer even 2700 years ago, says study

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 14, 2021, 10:25 PM IST

Representative image Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

It's common to consider our modern food habits a product of our time. But this research says otherwise, at least when blue cheese and beer are concerned

Fine cheese is the food of the sophisticated. The dairy product is paired with different foods or drinks to enhance the delight of fine dining. There are many, many types of cheese and each has its own taste and fanbase. Europeans are avid cheese eaters but in some modified form, the dairy product is consumed in different corners of the world.

But how old is this tradition of eating cheese? A new study has found out that at least in Europe Blue Cheese and Beer were being consumed since the Iron Age, that is, 2700 years ago.

The research was conducted jointly by many institutions in Austria, Italy and the US.

To reach the conclusion, researchers analysed 2700-year-old stool samples in Hallstatt-Dachstein/Salzkammergut salt mines in Austria.

In their analysis, the researchers found presence of two fungi in the samples. The fungi Penicillium roqueforti and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are still widely used to make blue cheese and beer. Through a genome-wide analysis the researchers found out that these fungi were used by people in the Iron Age to ferment food

The research team thinks that diet of these yesteryear Europeans involved fibrous foods and was rich in carbohydrates. 

The findings about blue cheese and beer have helped the researchers conclude that culinary practices of even our pre-historic ancestors had a degree of sophistication.