The Ancient Greeks called it Sweet Plakountas, today it is the "Cheesecake"
Did you know that the first cheesecake has been made by the Ancient Greeks? We may all crave for a delicious New York style cheesecake, but the first production of this dessert belongs to the Greeks. Oh yes, my dearest… The first cheesecake has been baked in the island of Samos at around 2000 BC. Based on archaeological findings, the first cheesecakes were part of the wedding traditions in ancient Greece. The brides were making these desserts to treat the groom’s friends. This ancient Greek custom gave rise to today's wedding cakes. According to archaeologists, the ancient Greek “cheesecake” was offered as a booster to athletes during the Olympic games at around 776BC.
The first registered cheesecake recipe dates to 230 AD when Athenaeos, a gastronomist and author of the book Deipnosiophistai”, mentions that the ancient Greeks were eating this “cheesecake” 2000 before his recipe-article was written. Aegimos, one of the most ancient of the Greek physicians wrote the “plakountopoietikon book” that has as its subject the art of preparing the perfect “cheesecake”.
Contrarily to today’s version the synthesis of a cheesecake was very simple: flour, wheat, honey, and cheese. As per the ancient Greek “cheesecake” recipe, they were pressing the cheese until it became smooth like a paste. Then in a frying pan they mixed this creamy cheese with honey and added wheat flour. They baked it in the oven that some of you may have seen at the Ancient Agora, one of my favourite sites in Athens, let it cool down for a while and served it.
When the Romans conquered Greece, the cheesecake recipe was one of the spoils that the conquerors took back home with them. The Romans named it “libuma”, added eggs to the base recipe, were baking it on a hot brick and used to serve it warm in special occasions.
The expansion of the Roman empire, spread the cheesecake’s recipe around Europe. Great Britain and Eastern European countries added their own extra details to the famous dessert and gradually the rest of the world started making cheesecake using local produce that was imported. After more experiments and additions, sometime around the 18th century the cheesecake took the form of the popular American cheesecake we eat today.
Last year, The Greek Gourmet, celebrated the restart of the tourism season with an authentic Ancient Greek Symposion and the ancient Greek cheesecake among other ancient greek dishes was the main dessert of our event prooving the theory that if we want to evolve and improve, we need to follow our ancestors’ steps…