France Bought Tons Of Cheese In Lockdown (But It Wasn't French)

We've all adjusted our eating habits during pandemic lockdown. Some of us hopped aboard the homemade bread train, while others leaned into more conscious consumption habits. But the French, as usual, took a more stylish (and surprising!) approach. The Guardian reports that home cheese consumption soared in France in 2020—but, in a nation that boasts 246 kinds of cheese, Italian mozzarella apparently saw the highest spike in sales.

The Guardian reports that, while cheeses like raclette (up 12.2%), comté (up 8.2%) and emmental (up 7.8%) all saw sales boosts, mozzarella sales spiked by a full 21.2%. Whether this was due to the cheese's versatility, relatively mild flavor, or something else remains unclear. The spikes were originally reported in the specialist food magazine Les Marchés, which explained that cheese had "several advantages that come into play during this strange period." The article says:

"It can be used as an ingredient, especially as home cooking has increased especially during the first lockdown. It is synonymous with comfort, especially when melted, and it plays a part in conviviality with raclettes or more refined meals ... it is also being used as part of a menu, mostly in the evening, for an easy and quick meal."

While mozzarella was the obvious frontrunner in the 2020 cheese craze, French cheese experts also noticed a dramatic increase (more than 200%) in sales of home raclette machines, which are used to melt cheese. The lesson here: when it comes to culinary comfort, cheese just has a certain... je ne sais quoi.