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The History of Cheesecake

January 13, 2024
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Although many assume that cheesecake's origins lie in New York, this delicious dessert actually dates back to ancient Greek history. Over 4,000 years ago, in the 5th century BC. In the 1st century BC, the ancient Greeks made the oldest known cheesecake on the island of Samos.

The original cheesecake consisted of cream cheese and quark, refined with local flour and honey and baked in a clay oven. This simple but tasty creation was often enjoyed before a fight or sport and was considered an excellent source of energy. There is even evidence that cheesecake helped athletes at the first Olympic Games in 776 BC. It was served in the 1st century BC and was also popular as a wedding cake.

In the Middle Ages, cheesecake transformed into modern Europe and was used as a pastry base in the form of a cake. The first English cookbook from 1390 already contained several variations of the cheesecake recipe using eggs and different flavor profiles. The English people's love for this delicious dessert was reflected in almost every English cookbook of the following five centuries.

Over time, cheesecake made its way to the American colonies, and in the 1730s the Cheesecake House Tavern opened in Philadelphia. Martha Washington's treasured 18th-century cookbook contained three different cheesecake recipes, one even without a crust and with flavors like rose water and spices. In the 19th century, more subtle ingredients such as lemon and vanilla were used in cheesecake recipes.

In the 1930s, a drastic change occurred in the basis of Americanized cheesecake. The traditional quark was replaced with creamy cream cheese, resulting in a richer treat. This is how the famous New York cheesecake was born, which became an obsession in the 1900s. Today, versions of cheesecake can be found in almost every restaurant and pub, and New York cheesecake remains one of the most popular variations of this delicious dessert.


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