July 30th. is National Cheesecake Day. There is no act of congress or official designation for this particular food holiday, just a lovely way to pay homage to this most popular of desserts. Cheesecake has a long, worldwide history. One form of cheesecake or another can be traced as far back as 776 BC, when small cheesecakes were served to the athletes who participated in the first Olympic Games on the Isle of Delos. All over the world, this marvelous confection has regional differences that have developed over the centuries and define the variety of flavors, textures and ingredients on a geographic basis. The Ancient Romans, as an example, used honey as a sweetener and a cheese resembling today’s ricotta, along with flour, to shape into loaves before baking. Bay leaves were used as an early preservative. Today, Italian cheesecake is very similar to it’s early predecessor, with an occasional handful of dried fruit added for good measure.
North American cheesecake varies by region as well. A New York cheesecake contains a lot of heavy cream, as opposed to a Philadelphia cheesecake, which is lighter in texture. Country style cheesecakes contain buttermilk for a firm consistency, while Pennsylvania Dutch cheesecakes contain a larger curd cheese and have a more tangy flavor than a St. Louis “Gooey” cake; a layer of baked cake with a layer of cheesecake as a topper. Whether you prefer a drizzle of chocolate, a fresh fruit topping or a dollop of whipped cream gracing your favorite slice, cheesecake is a celebration in itself, any day of the week, and what better way to give cheesecake it’s due than to visit your nearest Cheesecake Factory?
What is now The Cheesecake Factory, began as a small shop in Detroit in the 1940’s. Today, there are close to 150 locations across the country, providing not only a wonderful restaurant, but an endless assortment of completely fabulous and decadent cheesecakes to please everyone; from a sugar free, low carbohydrate delight, to their new Lemoncello Cream Torte. Let’s not forget you chocolate peanut fiends. Try some of their Reeses Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake. You will never look at any of these ingredients the same way again! The Cheesecake Factory will ship anywhere in the country and their website makes ordering easy. Bring home a slice or an entire cake and get ready for hugs and kisses. There are two Cheesecake Factory locations in our area; in Durham, at The Streets of Southpoint, at 8030 Renaissance Parkway, and in Raleigh, at Crabtree Valley Mall, at 4325 Glenwood Avenue. Their hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 11:00 am until 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am until 12:30 am, and Sunday, from 10:00 am until 11:00 pm.
Now that you are in possession of the best cheesecake ever, try our easy raspberry topping recipe; why not add a little fuel to the fire?
Meg’s Fresh Raspberry Topping
- 1 pint of fresh raspberries
- 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar (or Splenda equivalent)
- 1 fresh lemon, juiced and zested
Combine all of the ingredients in a small, non-stick saucepan and stir over low heat until the berries have released their juice and are slightly tender. Spoon over ice cream, cheesecake or any kind of cake for a sweet, tangy and eye pleasing finish to your dessert. YUM!