Did someone say the Chinese didn’t like cheese? A recent article in the Global Times features Beijing native Liu Yang who hopes this isn’t true. While Liu isn’t the only cheese maker in Beijing, news agencies have been swarming his story, a tale that begins with an average computer science career and ends amid smelly cheese vats.
The French artisanal cheese maker’s journey began with a move to the French countryside, where he gained inspiration from his neighbor who made Crottin goat cheese. Liu began making the cheese himself and later returned to Beijing and opened up his own shop in the Huilongguan District called Le Fromager de Pekin, confident that he would have the resources and the market to make more varieties of cheese. Liu’s cheese now ships as far as Shanghai.
Dairy lovers and Liu’s customers include mostly Chinese children and China’s laowai as of now, and Liu said this isn’t because of the lactose—cheese lacks it—but the price.
"For Chinese people I think this is the beginning,” Liu said in the Global Times. “I think in several years there will be more Chinese customers eating cheese. Everything changes, just like Coca-Cola; I was 18 when I tried Coke for the first time. If one person says they like it or it’s strange, with time it will continue and change."
Liu isn’t the only one with cheese on his agenda. Some supermarkets, including Wal-mart, carry cheese products specifically marketed to children, so that parents can stock their fridges with cheese chunks on a stick and crudely cheese in a cup, all packaged in colorful wrapping adorned with cartoons. These types of cheesy fun debuted in America nearly a decade ago, but they’re the first to hit the wary Chinese cheese market. Despite companies’ efforts, China will most likely wait long into the future before every kid packs a lunch box with string cheese and balogna and cheese sandwiches.
Read more about Liu’s passion here.