Artisan cheese- indeed, ANY kind of cheese, is slowly gaining a toe-hold in Asia.
“Not so long ago the idea of producing authentic cheese in Cambodia would have been considered impossible.
While the country boasts an abundance of arable land and a large workforce skilled in working the land, a lack of know-how, quality control and a general distaste for dairy produce meant even a simple block of cheddar was very hard to come by.
Despite these odds, and the inconvenience that there wasn’t a single commercial milk-producing cow in the entire kingdom, an unlikely pair managed to persist and realize a long-held cheesemaking dream.
In 1999, Roberto Ferroni left his Italian hometown Bibbiena for a country he had never heard of. When he arrived, Cambodia was still reeling from a tragic civil war and a brutal genocidal regime that devastated the nation and killed almost two million people.
“There was nothing,” recalled theTuscan. “Hardly any cars, just old motos [motorcycles] and not many businesses.”
It wasn’t long before Ferroni lent a helping hand to the ailing and miserably poor nation. Joining a cooperative for the Order of Mother Teresa he helped to build a hospital in the nation’s capital. After several years in Phnom Penh, the intrepid adventurer was lured to the ancient temples of Siem Reap in northwestern Cambodia to work as a tour guide. But his heart was not in it. Increasingly he became desperate to explore his true passion — food.”