Cheese has been known for a long time but there was a large improvement in cheese making during the Middle Ages. Many of the modern varieties of cheese available exist because of the innovation of monks during period. During the Renaissance cheese lost some of its popularity and was thought by many to be unhealthy.
To recognize good cheese:
Not at all white like Helen,
Nor weeping, like Magdalene.
Not Argus, but completely blind,
And heavy, like a buffalo.
Let it rebel against the thumb,
And have an old moth-eaten coal.
Without eyes, without tears, not at all white,
Moth-eaten, rebellious, of good weight.
- From Le Menagier de Paris
There is iiii. sortes of chese ... grene chese, softe chese, harde chese or spermyse. Grene chese is not called grene by the reason of colour, but for the newnes of it, for the whay is not half pressed out of it, and in operacion it is colde and moyste... Spermyse is a chese the which is made with curdes and with the iuce of herbes. (Andrew Boorde, Compendyous Regyment, 1542)