China is coming for your favorite stinky cheese, America.
There is very little, one might argue, that can be considered a more decadent snack than a chunk of a soft, funky cheese spread across a crispy cracker. It smells like feet, sure, but it tastes like heaven. Americans, while we may love to stick a few pre-cut slices of American cheese on bread and call it a grilled cheese sandwich, can also appreciate a pungent wedge of moldy cheese. Over the weekend, China came around to the same view of cheese, lifting a temporary ban on soft cheese imports from the European Union.
According to a report from the BBC, the ban was only imposed in September, in response to the fact that the “strains of bacteria” used to develop the cheeses were not “approved” by the Chinese government. Imports of the quarantined cheeses can now resume immediately.
The ban didn’t allow beloved French cheeses like brie and camembert into China, which have obviously been safely enjoyed in Europe, America, and even in China, for decades before the ban went into effect. The only cheeses allowed into the country were hard varieties, like cheddar and manchego, but less than a year later, the decision has blessedly been reversed, which means those delicious soft cheeses can now once again find a loving home in China.
“We are very happy about the decision. I think it's a way for China to show they're really open-minded to selling foreign products and especially cheese," Vincent Marion, a cheesemonger working in China, told the BBC.
If you’re under the impression that Chinese people don’t include cheese in their diet, you couldn’t be more wrong: One research firm called Euromontior expects cheese sales in China to reach $800 million this year.
Could this mean that China will soon become a serious competitor with America when it comes to snatching up the best cheese from Europe? It’s possible. At least people in China will once again get to know the joys of soft cheese.