In South Africa, interest in raw-milk cheeses is a fairly new phenomenon. However, the growing number of producers and enthusiasts demonstrates the potential of these products on the national market and reflects an increasing awareness among consumers.
For the most part, South African raw-milk cheeses are unique products that hark back to European dairy traditions, in particular those of the French and the Dutch. The varied soils and climatic conditions of South Africa's regions - from the almost Mediterranean landscape of the Cape to the arid Karro and the subtropical environs of the northeastern districts - are well represented through the rich diversity of aromas and flavors of the dairy products.
The Slow Food network in South Africa has been working to identify and collect information on producers that make and promote artisan raw-milk cheeses and who manage sustainable dairy farms farms and respect animal welfare (around ten to date). The new South African Raw Milk Cheeses Presidium aims to increase awareness among local consumers (using communication channels like websites and the press) and to present the country's cheese production to the world, while creating a network to collaborate actively with both the local Slow Food convivia and the international association.
The Presidium was launched on the occasion of Cheese in Bra, September 20-23, 2013. Two South African producers participated in the event, which included a Taste Workshop on the nation's best raw-milk cheeses and a conference to discuss the issues of raw milk in South Africa.
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