Cheese, Stadiums, and Hard Work
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Two LatAm countries produce more cheese than Switzerland
Where are the biggest stadiums in the region and when where they built? (story by Cesar Villescas)
Latin Americans may be the hardest workers on the planet (story by Gabriel Cohen)
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Food Industry 🧀
The first cheese factory in the world opened its doors in Switzerland in 1815. However, the first concrete evidence of cheese-making comes from present-day Poland, making the food staple 7.5K+ years old and deeply ingrained in European culture. Needless to say, they've mastered the craft. In fact, we were inspired to make this chart due to a "hot take" on cheese we had on Twitter, which was met with some backlash.
The dispute made us wonder: is Latin America even of significance in the global cheese stage? The data definitely surprised us. Of all places, Venezuela has been on a cheese revolution since the beginning of this century, producing in 2020 3x the amount it did in 2000. We were thrilled to see that the country with usually the most troubling news in the region is actually LatAm's 2nd largest cheese producer and surpassed Switzerland (the cheese homeland) in production for the first time in 2009.
While we stand by our tweet that prompted this whole investigation — Mexico's queso Oaxaca is not superior in quality to all of Switzerland's and France's cheeses — we must praise LatAm's cheese industry and culture, given it was brought to the country by Spaniards during the colonial period, giving it much less time to perfect the craft and ramp up production.
You might've also noticed Argentina on the chart, Latin America's top producer and #12 worldwide. It has produced at least twice Switzerland's amount since FAO started reporting this data in the 60s.
The World Cheese Awards is a reputable organization that rates and ranks cheeses worldwide. Argentina's Stracco by Lacteos Toro Pujio has won the highest honor of "Super Gold." While Mexico's Quesos del Rebaño has won "Gold." Despite having its fair share of artisanal cheeses like telita and guayanés, Venezuela has yet to earn a spot on the organization's Cheesy-pedia.
Why? Venezuela remains sadly isolated from the world, most of its production is consumed domestically, and in the world of cheese, it takes a lot of work to compete with Europe. According to oec.world data, almost all of the world's cheese exports come from Europe.
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