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With hundreds of cheesecake recipes to choose from, it’s the ingredients that make all the difference. The most essential ingredient is, no surprises, cheese. Soft cheeses are most commonly used – such as cream cheese, neufchatel, cottage cheese and ricotta.

The earliest history of the art is lost, but we know that cheesecake was a popular dish in ancient Greece. With the Roman conquest of Greece, the secret fell into Roman hands. The Roman name for this type of cake was ‘placenta’. This was more like a cheesecake, baked on a pastry base or sometimes inside a pastry case. They were also called ‘libum’ by the Romans, and were often used as an offering at their temples to their gods.

It might be stretching things a little if we were to call the humble cheesecake the ‘food of champions’. However, it is worth pointing out that small cheesecakes were served to athletes during the first Olympic games held in 776 BC on the Isle of Delos. Sure beats a lemon detox.

Here’s an old recipe from the 1st century AD, from Roman politician Marcus Porcius Cato:

Libum to be made as follows: two pounds cheese well crushed in a mortar; when it is well crushed, add in one pound bread-wheat flour or, if you want it to be lighter, just half a pound, to be mixed with the cheese. Add one egg and mix all together well. Make a loaf of this, with the leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick.

According to John J. Sergreto, author of Cheesecake Madness, the basic recipe and ingredients for the first cheesecake were recorded by Athenaeus, a Greek writer, around 230 AD.

Take cheese and pound it till smooth and pasty; put cheese in a brazen sieve; add honey and spring wheat flour. Heat in one mass, cool, and serve.

Cheesecake was later introduced to Great Britain and Western Europe by the Roman conquering armies and, by 1000 AD, cheesecakes were flourishing throughout Scandinavia, England, and north western Europe.

Our cheesecake may not have been around for quite this long, but our family has been making them for more than 100 years – which has given us a good amount of time to perfect our recipes. Check out our full range in our online shop.

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