The Revival of Russian Cheeses at Cheese 2019

After the ban of food imports from western countries imposed in 2014, Russian cheesemakers have stepped in to fill the gap, leading to a national cheese revival.

Several companies have started producing imitation versions of popular western cheeses like Parmigiano, Emmentaler and Edam, but there has also been a return to the production of traditional local cheeses that had almost been lost.

While it’s illegal to sell raw milk cheeses in Russian stores, it becomes legal if they are sold at farmers’ markets or directly on the farm. The production of raw milk cheeses is only allowed in the mountainous areas due to the difficulties of transporting the milk down to the lowlands for pasteurization. Slow Food is working with small-scale cheese producers to support their activities and hopefully launch a campaign to protect raw milk cheeses soon. Some of these producers will be at Cheese!


Eduard and Gennady Yastrebov, from Kozlovo (Staritsky District, Tver Region) will be among the speakers of the workshop Raw Milk and Cheesemakers Who Resist. Eduard and Gennady used to work in a car garage, but when they heard that the only farm in Kozlovo was about to shut down, they decided to step up and take it over. They started with just one cow and 20 hectares, though now they have almost 100 cows and have expanded to 50 hectares. Now the owners of Eko-Ferma, they make several varieties of brined, semi-solid and hard cheeses from cow’s and goat’s milk, following traditional recipes.

Maxim Sobolev, from Yekaterinburg (Beloyarsky District, Sverdlovsk Oblast Region) will be among the speakers at the conference Cheesemaker Resistance in Europe. He is the owner of Sobolev Cheese, a small company run by young people focused on the production of high-quality cheese. Founded in 2015 as a result of an artisan initiative—producing cheese in his own kitchen—the company now produces various types of cheese. Recently Maxim has also made the switch to using raw milk in his cheese production.

Scientist Alexander Kudryavtsev, general director of the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics in Moscow, will also attend the event. The institute studies the general, molecular and evolutionary genetics of humans, animals, plants and microorganisms and makes a significant contribution to the safeguarding of national biodiversity.

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