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Delectable Sakura Cheese

Varieties of Mongolian-style cheese were introduced to Japan centuries ago from China and Korea. Cheese entered mainstream Japanese dining during the Meiji Era in the late 19th century. It was a most significant time in Japanese history in many aspects such as in politics, culture, and cuisine.

In 1868, when Japan transitioned from being a closed and highly regulated feudal society run by a strict military regime to an open representative government, the country became an active member of the international community. With all the societal changes, a national nutrition strategy was implemented in school lunches all throughout Japan, a country whose citizens were predominantly Buddhists with an edict that prohibited meat in their diets. Japanese leaders noticed that the inclusion of dairy and meat in the Western man’s diet contributed to his robust physique. Cheese in Japan gradually became an important aspect in daily nutrition.Homemade cheese

Making homemade cheese.

Sakura cheese (Sakura Chīzu), or cherry blossom cheese, is a soft cheese originating in Hokkaidō, Japan. Sakura or cherry blossom is a symbol of Japanese culture and has deep roots in Japanese history. Sakura cheese is creamy white, delicately flavored with pickled cherry blossom flowers and hints of mountain cherry leaves.

Europe and the Mediterranean are known for producing most of the cheese until the craft was introduced to other parts of the world through European exploration. The Sakura cheese is the very first globally recognized Japanese cheese. It has the distinction or winning the much coveted gold medal in 2004 at the Mountain Cheese Olympics in Appenzell, Switzerland. The Mountain Cheese Olympics is a festival that encourages and promotes the economic interests of mountainous regions of the world. One such enterprise is cheese making, because mountain cheese is considered to have qualities distinct from other kinds of cheese. Mountain cheeses are most often made from sheep or goat milk and tend to be softer.

The event is known to usually favor Italian, French, or Swiss cheeses for the prized award. But Sakura Cheese was awarded the distinction in the soft-cheese category, truly a much deserved honor for the delicious and original Japanese cheese.

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