A 5,000-Year-Old Cheesemaking Tradition In Armenia

Food & Drink
Motal cheese is a goat cheese flavored with herbs that is made throughout the Caucasus, particularly in the mountainous regions of eastern Armenia. The cheesemaking technique dates back about 5,000 years and is in danger of disappearing. Insider traveled to the town of Chambarak, Armenia, about two hours northeast from the capital, Yerevan, to meet Ruslan Torosyan, a local who’s working to keep the cheese alive.

Preparing the cheese is a three-month process that requires sourcing goat’s milk from local farmers, preparing homemade rennet to be added to the milk, preserving the cheese in salt, adding fresh herbs to the cheese, and aging it inside terra-cotta pots in wood ash. Torosyan and his family worked to bring the cheese to production by collaborating with Slow Food International, an organization that aims to preserve ancient food traditions all over the world. Even though Torosyan has perfected the traditional cheesemaking method, selling motal comes with obstacles. He can’t sell his cheese in most European countries because motal doesn’t meet the European Union’s requirements for importing dairy products. But selling within the country is also difficult because the cheese is made at a limited quantity and is more expensive than most Armenian cheeses.

Despite international regulations and being far from the capital, Torosyan and his family spread the word by organizing master classes for tourists. They condense the three-month cheesemaking process into an hour and half to share the ancient technique.

For more, visit: http://www.motal.am.

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A 5,000-Year-Old Cheesemaking Tradition In Armenia

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