CCTV.com - CNTV English - CCTV News

The big cheese

07-01-2010 18:36 BJT

BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhuanet) -- It's an amusing fantasy to believe that somewhere in the hulking caravans traversing the Silk Road, that ancient network connecting China to the Middle East and Europe, a single piece of cheese was slyly hitching a ride amidst the piles of fabrics, gems and spices that otherwise comprised the bulk of that era's transcontinental trade.

Liu Yang brings artisanal cheese to Beijing. (Photo: Global Times)
Liu Yang brings artisanal cheese to Beijing. (Photo: Global Times)

Hundreds of years later, Beijing is still a veritable dairy wasteland. In fact, there's only one true artisan of proper French-style cheese operating at enough of a clip to satisfy the increasingly cosmopolitan flavors of the city's dining scene.

Cheese to the Chinese

"One block of cheese weighs about 150 grams, and in one month I can make 800 to 1,000 blocks," Liu Yang, founder and CEO of Le Fromager de Pekin, told me at his small Huilongguan workshop, the setting for a distinctly non-Chinese kind of alchemy that must look like absolute witchcraft to his neighbors. As expected, Liu doesn't count too many native Chinese among his clients, though his stated success rate at converting Chinese people to the epicurean glory of cheese isn't nearly as bad as one might expect.

"I'd say half the Chinese people that come in here like the cheese after they try it," he said. "Chinese people have an entirely different menu, different preferences - but they're increasingly curious about new flavors."

Liu refutes the common misconception that the higher prevalence of lactose intolerance in the Chinese populace leads to discomfort in eating and digesting cheese.

"Actually, cheese has no lactose," he said. "Instead, the issue is fat - at 20 to 40 percent, it's far too fatty for most Chinese."


Hot Videos view more

The celebrations are still continuing as the victorious coach, Joachim Loew, has been honored for his achievement in his hometown of Freiburg.
Germany coach Loew honored in hometown of Freiburg

Chinese men´s national team continued its preparations for next year´s Asian Cup, as they managed a one-all draw against visitors Jordan during a football friendly in Harbin, the capital city of Northeast China´s Heilongjiang Province.
China held to 1-1 draw by Jordan

The defending world champs came into the contest with a perfect 6-and-oh record, but they would be in for a tough first half before opening things up in the second.
USA beat Slovenia 119-76 in quarter-finals

Hot Stories more

UK authorities believe killer of James Foley is a British national

Across the UK the hunt is on for James Foley’s killer, who authorities believe is a British national. As Richard Bestic reports from London, Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his summer break to lead his government’s response.

Israeli war jets renews Gaza strike as truce talks stalled

Three Palestinians were killed and 40 others wounded in the intensive Israeli war jets´ airstrikes on the Gaza city on Tuesday night, shortly before an end of a 24-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip,

Missouri police arrest dozens after violent night

As the protests in the town of Ferguson, Missouri turned violent with police facing ´heavy gunfire´ from some ´criminal elements´, cops fired tear gas, stun grenades and arrested 31 demonstrators on Monday night.

Picture in news more

More Video News

Choose TV Program