Who makes our organic cheese?
SATURDAY . CREATE SUSTAINABILITY
Modern life in the city and even in smaller towns can be impersonal, with social contacts reduced to commercial transactions and supermarkets full of products on the shelves made in factories with questionable ingredients.
Here in Damanhur, we are lucky to know and love the people who produce the foods we eat. They are our family, friends, nucleo community housemates, spiritual brothers and sisters, and we trust them to use organic ingredients and to make what they make with care and attention.
Meet Scarabeo Rafano, Damanhur’s organic cheese maker!
What is your background? How did you get involved in cheese making?
I have a background in classical studies from high school. Then, when I came to Damanhur, I discovered the pleasure of getting close to the earth and being involved in agriculture. So, I took some courses to learn the basic techniques for dairy and cheese production, and for two decades, I have been in total dedication to this practice.
What is it that makes your products special and different?
Applying Damanhur’s philosophy, I aim to exalt the individual characteristics of each of my products, beginning from the choice of raw materials, which I then transform into harmonious and balanced cheeses and ice creams, with defined qualities that you can perceive with your senses.
Do you make vegan options?
Yes. I also take into consideration health concerns and vegan nutrition. I am experimenting with soy, rice, natural sweeteners as alternatives to sugar and also using vegetable based rennet.
How do you decide what to make?
I take many things into consideration. Besides customer preferences, my production is seasonal in order to stay in harmony with the growing seasons and offerings of nature. I consider the availability of raw materials, the climate, the kinds of pastures that feed the animals, the humidity of the environment where I make the products. It’s a complex process.
What do you feel is your next step?
I feel a strong pull toward teaching. I would like to organize courses for those who would like to start small artisan food businesses, perhaps for garanteeing self-sufficiency in a small community, or those who have animals and want to organize a food production cycle.
How has being a spiritual researcher at Damanhur affected your work?
I bring my experience as an alchemical ‘metratore’ (one who does the practice of ‘metratura‘) from the Damanhur School of Meditation, thanks to which I refine my sensory capacities with daily practice. In my food-making process, I pay extreme attention to detail. Also, in my cheese-making space, I have a spheroself specially programmed for cheese-making!
Do you know who makes your food? Do you have local food artisans and farmers markets? Share in the comments!