I'm still not sure whether this report is real, or an April Fool joke released a couple of days early by mistake. There is one other reference that would seem to confirm it, and (as you'll see from the links I've provided), I've been able to confirm some of the details as genuine. Nevertheless, true or false, it's funny.
Researchers at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA, say they have cracked a way of massively accelerating the ripening process normally so essential to creating a cheese with the required texture and smelliness.
“What nature takes three weeks, three months or three years to do we can do in two to three days using a process that is far faster and less costly,” INRA cheese expert Romain Jeantet told the Telegraph.
. . .
The secret to the process, which researchers have coined From'Innov, is to split the production of the cheese and its aroma in the laboratory and mix them later to create the desired product “à la carte”.
“With the same material, we can thus make a cream cheese on Monday, a Camembert on Tuesday and a hard cheese on Wednesday,” said colleague Gilles Garric, who said INRA was in talks with three dairy giants over the technique.
The result was very similar to traditionally-made cheese, the researchers insisted.
. . .
But purists are appalled at what they see as the latest attempt to kill of a great French exception – smelly cheese lovingly made with raw milk and on a human scale.
“This isn’t cheese at all, it’s totally synthetic,” sniffed Véronique Richez-Lerouge, who runs the traditional cheese defence group Association Fromages de Terroirs and recently wrote a book called La Vache Qui Pleure (Crying Cow).
“Industrial dairy groups have long dreamed of making cheese with as little milk as possible in as little time as possible so it costs as little as possible, with a consensual taste to appeal to the masses. INRA has made their dream come true,” she said. “Next they’ll be adding banana or raspberry aroma.”
. . .
The new technique was the best way to offer cheese tailor-made to “local tastes and requirements” in countries like China, where demand for dairy products is exploding.
It also travelled well, as the cheese can be sent in powder form and the aroma separately, and mixed in situ.
There's more at the link.
Ripen the aroma separately from the cheese? Now there's a thought. I wonder if you could leave the aroma out of the final product? Imagine Limburger with the taste, but not the stink. Wouldn't that be nice?
(Of course, there's also the problem of mixing up the shipping containers, so that the cheese is paired with the wrong aroma. Imagine a Cheddar that smelled like Stinking Bishop. Oops!)