The Daily Star visits Ambarees producers in the West Bekaa and publishes this beautiful article featuring the Food Heritage Foundation’s initiative to revive Ambarees production and interviews with Mabelle Chedid president of the foundation and Amal Ghorayeb dairy producer from darb el karam Saghbine – West Bekaa.
Check the full article here.
In Lebanon, the consumption of goat’s milk is valued on a national level; in 2010, goat milk production reached 32 million tons. Goat dairy products are consumed as cheese, laban, labneh, ayran and other more typical products characterized by their production and conservation techniques like kishk, ambarees labneh and darfieh cheese. While ambarees, traditionally produced in the Bekaa Valley, consists of fermented raw goat milk in earthenware jars, darfieh cheese, a specialty of North Lebanon, is fermented in a cow skin prepared in advance especially to make this cheese. Goat milk production is seasonal, and preservation methods of caprine dairy products vary: goat labneh and ambarees are usually shaped into small balls and conserved in glass jars with olive oil, they also can be frozen for later use. Darfieh cheese is conserved in olive oil as well, baladi goat cheese is preserved in brine, and kishk is conserved as powder to be used in soup and other recipes.
Check out the full article in Taste&Flavors magazine.
“Ambarees”, also known as “Sirdeleh” or “Labnet al Jarra”, is a traditional dairy product of the Bekaa Valley consisting of fermented raw goat milk in earthenware jars that develops into a sour labneh. Making Ambarees has become a rare practice in remote areas of rural Lebanon, and the Ambarees labneh has become a sought after product.
The Food Heritage Foundation together with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture of Zahle and the Bekaa, through the Lactimed project are seeking to revive and promote the tradition of making Ambarees by documenting the production process of this dairy product and identifying jar producers.
During the workshop that was organized last December and which gathered Ambarees producers from all over the Bekaa region, participants shared their methods of producing Ambarees and a unified procedure was developed. A session on safe production and handling was delivered by the Food Heritage Foundation public health specialists.
Subsequently, a brochure was prepared and included technical and nutritional information on this traditional product.
In order to sustain this production, jars of 20L capacity were purchased from an identified potter and distributed to Ambarees producers from the Bekaa. More activities related to the safety of this product will follow during this coming season.
Shanklish is an aged cheese covered with thyme, sumac or dried mint. It is made either with goat’s or cow’s milk.
Shanklish is traditionally made in the region of Akkar, and shanklish salad is a common mezze dish served in
Total servings: 5
Calories: 150 Kcal/serving
1 shanklish ball
2 tomatoes, diced
1 red onion (or green onion if available), finely chopped
1 green belly pepper, finely chopped
Extra Virgin olive oil
- Crush the shanklish ball with a fork
- Stir in the red onion, green belly pepper and tomatoes
- Sprinkle with olive oil
- Decorate with fresh mint leaves and serve
The LACTIMED project, with financial support from the European Union under the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme, has prepared and published in 2015 a guide to all dairy products lovers!
The guide offers options of agritourism activities based on dairy products in 5 countries around the Mediterranean basin: Tunisia, Italy, Greece, Egypt and Lebanon! It describes the wealth of selected regions in each country, the dairy sector, sites and farms to visit, what to buy, where to sleep and eat etc.
The traditional Lebanese dairy products are described in this 78-pages guide and darb el karam – Food Heritage Trail is featured on page 57!
To access the electronic version of the guide press here.
Traditional animal of the Mediterranean, the goat is raised in most countries of the region, for its production of milk that is almost entirely transformed, in a traditional way, to cheese and other dairy products.
[quote] Nutrition Corner: For all those with “sensitive stomachs” out there, Goat’s milk might be the solution for you! With a lower content of lactose and a structure close to that of breastmilk, Goat’s milk is usually easier to digest than Cow’s milk. Plus it has more calcium, potassium and Vitamin A![/quote]
Goat farming is widespread in the marginal areas of Lebanon; the adopted breeding system is the extensive pastoral system, centuries old, relying on pastures as its main source of feed. The local goat population consists mainly of the indigenous breed of Baladi goat characterized by its rusticity and ability to value the limited resources of the tough land that no other ruminants can reach.
The consumption of goat milk is valued on the national level, especially in the regions that exhibit goat farming. In 2010, goat milk production reached 32 million tons. Goat dairy products are consumed as cheese, laban, labneh, ayran and other more typical products characterized by their production and conservation techniques like Kishk, Ambarees labneh and Darfieh cheese. While Ambarees, traditionally produced in the Bekaa Valley, consists of fermented raw goat milk in earthenware jars, Darfieh cheese, a specialty of North Lebanon, is fermented in a cow skin prepared in advance particularly to make this cheese.
Goat milk production is seasonal, and preservation methods of caprine dairy products vary: goat labneh and Ambarees are usually shaped into small balls and conserved in glass jars with olive oil, Ambarees can also be frozen for later use, Darfieh cheese is conserved in olive oil as well, baladi goat cheese is preserved in brine (salty water), and kishk is well-maintained as powder to be used in soup and other recipes.
Jihad inherited the skill of herding goats from his late father. In spite of difficult socio-economic conditions in the village, Jihad would never think of leaving goat herding. Jihad strongly believes in the importance of knowing where your food comes from. That’s why he takes very good care of the health of his herd and would love to take you on a walk with the goats and the jingling of their bells.