Camel cheese doesn’t play in Mauritania

“For Mauritanians cheese is simply milk gone sour. They think it’s revolting,” says Nancy Abeiderrahmane, the owner of Tiviski dairy in this northwestern African country. The dairy produces milk from camels, cows and goats plus yogurt, but their specialty is camel’s cheese, according to an article in the April 10, 2007 online edition of the Jordan Times.

I don’t know about camel cheese, but camel milk is pretty good. If you have a cup of tea with fresh mint you can mix it half and half with camel milk, fresh from the camel. Obviously it’s not pasteurized when you drink it like this. I’m not entirely sure what the risk is from unpasteurized camel milk, but I have had plenty of unpasteurized cow milk in American farm homes and never heard of anyone getting sick from milk in a home environment.
Camel cheese looks like the soft, round French Camembert, but is said to taste like goat cheese. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says it has three times as much vitamin C as cow’s milk, and also has significant amounts of vitamin B and iron.

Abeiderrahmane has potential customers for her unique camel cheese lined up at European department stores like Harrods in London and Fauchon in Paris, but has not been able to start exporting camel cheese because of the EU regulations. Mauritania has not eliminated hoof and mouth disease, and the country lacks laboratories for testing animal health.


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