Surprise, the country that consumes the most cheese is not France

The big cheese.
The big cheese.
Image: Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke
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Hard, soft, runny, smelly, or blue—cheese is a wonderful thing. Just how much you love it, though, might depend a lot on where you live.

The International Dairy Federation (IDF) keeps track of global cheese consumption per capita on an annual basis. Their most recent data, for 2016, shows a European continent enthralled with fromage—just a single non-European nation cracks the top 15 (Israel, at 15).

Surprisingly though, that most smelly of nations, France—I’m talking about the cheese— doesn’t crack the top three. The Nordic nations of Denmark, Iceland, and Finland take the top slots, perhaps thanks to a penchant for open faced sandwiches.

Meanwhile, countries in Asia, Africa, and South America are less impressed. They do, of course, have their own distinct and rich food cultures, with fermentation of all different kinds (tofu, miso, kimchi, and fermented milks aplenty) going on. IDF’s data for 2017 will be released later this year, and likely reveal a European continent further obsessed with cheese.