I Love Pretoria gets cultured
Fromage, fromaggio, queso, käse, penir, tiri. Whatever name it’s called by, cheese is the all-rounder of food – an indispensable breakfast ingredient, life of the dinner party and an everyday essential. Cheese is one of life’s delicious pleasures.
Another one of life’s pleasures and arguably one of the biggest food trends at the moment, is to grow, brew and make your own food and drinks at home. At I Love Pretoria, we have grown very fond of all things fresh, local and homemade and, just like growing your own herbs and vegetables, making your own cheese is as fresh, local and homemade as it gets. That’s why, when Carike de Villiers, owner of Crafty Cultures, invited us to attend a Ricotta making workshop on 7 April, we were childishly excited to learn how we could be fromagers in our own right (cue excitement overload).
A cheesy history
The earliest records of cheese making dates back to the Sumerians, who was thought to have used it as nutritional supplements. Only later was cheese developed and diversified to become the gastronomical delicacy it is today.
In these early times, animal stomachs were used for storing and transporting liquids. The milk stored in the stomachs of a mammals coagulated due to a particular enzyme found in the stomach lining, giving rise to the first, albeit somewhat soft, cheese.
Nowadays, the ancient ingredient, cheese, has grown even more popular with the rise of artisanal foods and has a place in all meals from a simple breakfast to the most elaborate banquet.
In essence there are eight types of cheeses if you classify cheese according to its texture: soft fresh cheese; soft ripened cheese; semi-soft cheese; semi-hard cheese; hard cheese; blue-veined cheese; spun curd cheese; and processed cheese.
Some cheeses are aged for a period of time in a humidity-controlled environment. During this ageing process, the cheese develops its specific texture and flavour.
In 2015, Carike de Villiers, a bubbly, dynamic industrial engineer, hung up her corporate boots and decided to start a business that focused on the lost art of making fermented food products at home. Crafty Cultures was born out of a passion for making wholesome, healthy foods at home and Carike decided to use it as an opportunity to share her love for the simplistic art of making fermented food products by selling the basic equipment and ingredients to the public and hosting a variety of workshops focused on the method and madness behind making different kinds of fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt and kefir.
Here we are making a lovely batch of Ricotta.