New York cheesecake is probably the most well-known US version of the ever-popular dessert. In fact, it tops several favorite cheesecake flavor lists. Interestingly enough, you do not have to be from New York to make great cheesecake. In fact, our Reading, Pennsylvania based company is a leader in the gourmet dessert industry, including cheesecake production!
In addition to Sweet Street’s own rich and creamy New York Cheesecake, our customer cheesecake favorites include: Marble Chocolate Chip Cheese Brulee, our decadent Creme Brulee Cheese, the delightful Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake, and, if you simply can’t decide, try the Berries and Cream Cheesecake Variety.
Although we have been in business since 1979, the cheesecake has us beat in the realm of longevity! We are a company that is very familiar with the necessity of research, so it seemed prudent for us to delve into New York cheesecake’s history. Yet, we felt we would be even better to truly grasp the heart and saga behind the advent of the cheesecake in general. You would not believe just how far back cheesecake goes and (more importantly) how it was initially used.
It is believed that the first cheesecake might have originated on the island of Samos. Anthropologists unearthed cheese molds from before 2000 BC on that Greek island. People there made a paste with the cheese which they pounded and sweetened with honey. They then set it into a wheat crust. They baked it, cooled it and devoured it.
More importantly, and perhaps most interesting, is the fact that cheesecake is believed to have been a staple of Olympic Athletes. During the first Olympics (in 776 BC), the competitors were supplied with cheesecake as a means of strengthening them for continued involvement in the games. Once the Romans conquered Greece, the cheesecake idea spread like wildfire. People were willing to, “do as the Romans do,” and that included eating cheesecake!
Marcus Porcius Cato penned the first recorded cheesecake recipe. That was in his book, De Agri Cultura, a farmer’s manual published in 160 BC. In truth, cheesecake became so popular over the centuries that, in 1545, it appeared in the first published cookbook. This recipe included a flour-based design and people ran with it, making all sorts of concoctions with the ingredients they had on hand. Eventually they started using sugar instead of honey to sweeten the cheesecakes they created.
The 18th century saw the rise in cheesecake popularity here in the US. When William Lawrence accidentally created cream cheese, everything changed! Forty years later, James Kraft figured out how to pasteurize it and, by the 1920s, cream cheese had become very popular in New York. Arnold Reuben (yep, the same guy who invented the Reuben sandwich) is typically given the credit for designing the New York Style cheesecake.
Supposedly, Reuben tasted a cheese pie at a party. This cheese pie was so delectable, he set about trying to figure out how to make something like it. Since he was from Germany originally, he probably did a lot of experimenting before he arrived at his now famed New York Style cheesecake. This cheesecake design is heavy in the cream area and produces a very dense consistency. If there is a crust included, it is generally a very thin graham cracker crust.
Today, New York cheesecake is enjoyed by countless people across the world. What may surprise you is the fact that Michael Phelps, an 8-time Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer, enjoys his mother’s New York cheesecake, and Vicky Bullett, an Olympic Gold Medalist basketball player, prefers the New York Style as well.
It would appear that cheesecake and the Olympics go hand in hand. Therefore, ordering some gold medal New York cheesecake for your July 30th National Cheesecake Day celebration, or any other day, sounds like a great idea!