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This isn’t so much aged cheese, as really, really old cheese: a 340–year-old fromage has been found close to a famous shipwreck off the coast of Sweden.
The Roquefort–like substance, which could also be butter, was discovered in a tin buried in mud on the seabed at the site of the wrecked Kronan, a 17th century warship, in the Baltic Sea. When the old cheese was brought to the surface some of the contents leaked due to the change in pressure, The Guardian reports, and divers were introduced to the powerful aroma of a centuries–old ‘mature’ stinker.
“It’s like a mixture of yeast and Roquefort, a sort of really ripe, unpasteurised cheese,” said Lars Einarsson, who’s leading the dive. “I certainly don’t recommend tasting it. It’s a mass of bacteria.”
The Kronan sunk in 1676 on its way to battle the Danish-Dutch fleet. The cheese has now been sent off for analysis.
This isn’t the only recent find of centuries–old dairy produce. A 10 kg hunk of bog butter, estimated to be 2000–years–old, was recently found submerged in a peat bog in Ireland.