String cheese refers to several different types of cheese where the manufacturing process aligns the proteins in the cheese, which makes it stringy.
In Slovakia, korbáčiky is made, which is a salty sheep milk cheese, available smoked or unsmoked. It is traditionally made by hand-pulling steamed sheep's cheese into strings and braiding them. Cow milk versions are also available.
Eastern Europe/West Asia
In Turkey most common type of string cheese is dil peyniri (Dil Cheese). Dil is a traditional Turkish cheese made from cow's milk around the cities of Bilecik and Bursa. The cheese is fresh, white, and it has a stringy texture, similar to mozzarella. The texture becomes even more stringy when the cheese is melted, which is the reason why it's not often used on pizza in Turkey (they usually use kasar cheese instead).
In Armenia, traditional string cheese is made with a white base. The type of milk used usually comes from an aged goat or sheep depending upon the production methods of the area of choice. It includes black cumin and a middle-eastern spice known as mahleb, and it comes in the form of a braided endless loop. The cheese forms strings because of the way it is pulled during processing.
There is also Syrian cheese processed this way. Other cheeses are only cut and pressed, not pulled, and don't develop strings.
Cheestrings became a popular snack in the UK and Republic of Ireland in the early 1990s. They are made from processed cheese by Kerry Group and the mascot is a cartoon character called Mr Strings.
The original advert had a theme tune based on the popular song "Bend Me, Shape Me", but with different lyrics ("You got a cheese string day or night, you got a cheese string you're all right"). The first version of this advert was set at a kids' disco, and a later remake was set at a funfair. Originally Mr Strings was a wild cartoon character who pulled himself apart but by the late 1990s the packaging had been redesigned with a more simplified mascot. On television the original Mr Strings was phased out during the mid 2000s and replaced by an unseen character who played creepy practical jokes on teenage consumers. In the late 2000s the design of Mr Strings was changed for a third time to appear more child-friendly and was given a new catchphrase ("Hey, I'm just cheese").
In the present day, cheesestrings are available in cheddar, mozzarella, and the two colour cheddar and red leicester twisters. Discontinued flavours include cheddar and smoky bacon, and pizza.
Kerry exports Gouda cheesestrings from Charleville, County Cork to Holland, and a Gouda-Emmental mix to France, where the product is known as Ficello. Low cost imitations of the original cheddar cheesestrings were formerly manufactured in the UK by Tesco, Dairylea, and currently by Dunnes Stores. An item in the product range of the original Kerry cheesestrings, known as Attack-A-Snack (a rival to Dairylea Lunchables), packaged with a tortilla wrap or cracker, sachet of tomato ketchup, and piece of processed ham has been available from the late 90s.
In Mexico, the first type of string cheese was invented in 1885 by Leobarda Castellanos García at 14 years old. A very popular type of string cheese called Quesillo is sold today in balls of various sizes. It is also known as "Queso Oaxaca" or Oaxaca cheese referred to the place of origin it was invented, and now it's widely popular in all Mexican territories.
In the United States, string cheese generally refers to snack-sized servings of low-moisture mozzarella. This form of string cheese is roughly cylindrical, about 6 inches (15 cm) long and less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter. The common term is a "cheese stick" which is cut and packaged, either individually or as a package of several lengths.
The cheese used is nearly always a form of mozzarella, or a combination of mozzarella and cheddar. This type of string cheese gets its name because it can be eaten by pulling strips of cheese from the cylinder along its length and eating these strings. It was invented in 1976 by Frank Baker.
In Australia, string cheese is sold by Bega Cheese and is called Bega Stringers. String cheese can also be sold in a can. In the Marquesas Islands, a popular variety of string cheese is made from breadfruit proteins and buffalo milk, and is marketed under the brand, Sea King String.
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- Julie R. Thomson (6 March 2017), The Real Difference Between String Cheese And Mozzarella Cheese, retrieved 16 February 2018
- Slovak Cheeses – The Foreigner's Guide to Living in Slovakia
- Versatility of sheep milk – Typical Slovak craftsmanship, folk skills and traditions – Slovak Folk Culture Through Amateur Eyes
- Orava natives cheesed off by Polish competition for beloved wares – The Slovak Spectator
- AOH food – String cheese
- "Middle Eastern salad". The Boston Globe. 11 April 2007.
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- Kerry Group
- Cheese strings official website
- Cheese Strings ad, 2002
- original Mr Strings
- Replacement Cheese strings mascot
- current Mr Strings
- Cheese strings official website
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- original Mr Strings
- Irish Times
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- Cheesestrings Attack A Snack
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- "Stringers Cheddar". Bega Cheese.