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The history of cheesecake

The history of cheesecake

While many assume that cheesecake originated in New York, it actually dates back to the history of Ancient Greece! More than 4,000 years ago, in the 5th century BC, the ancient Greeks on the island of Samos created the oldest known cheesecake.

This rudimentary cheesecake was made with fresh cheese and curd, which were then ground smooth with local flour and honey. The creation was then baked in a clay oven before being enjoyed. Usually before a fight or sport. Back then, cheesecake was considered an excellent source of energy and there is evidence that it was served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. Cheesecake was also popular as a wedding cake!

During the middle ages of the modern era in Europe, cheesecake transformed and was included as a pastry base in tart form. The first English cookbook, written in 1390, included several variations of the cheesecake recipe, which included eggs and different flavor profiles. Over the next five centuries, almost every English cookbook included at least one recipe for cheesecake, signifying the love the English had for this delicious dessert! Since the English loved cheesecake, it's no wonder the delicacy made its way to the American colonies.

In the 1730s, Philadelphia became the home of the "Cheesecake House" Tavern! Martha Washington's treasured and gifted cookbook contains three different cheesecake recipes, one of which is a crustless cheesecake. These recipes were also flavored with rose water and other spices. In the 19th century, cheesecake recipes began to include more subtle ingredients such as lemon and vanilla.

In the 1930s, the basis of the Americanized cheesecake changed dramatically. The traditional curd has been phased out and replaced with cream cheese, creating a creamier, richer and tastier treat. Thus, cheesecake recipes were changing and the New York cheesecake was born! One of the most famous cheesecake variations, the signature and smooth taste comes from the extra egg yolks added to the creamy cheesecake mixture. In the 1900s, New Yorkers became obsessed with dessert, and almost every restaurant offered some variation of cheesecake on its menu. Today, restaurants and bars are no different – almost everyone offers some kind of cheesecake on their menu!

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