Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Abattoirs closed... let's go for cheese!

Wanjiku Unlimited had a nice post earlier this week entitled Dagoretti Houses of Filth on the recent closure of the Dagoretti slaughterhouses: "As much as we do expect to see blood in a slaughter house, the footage of the abattoirs on TV was disturbing. The kind you really don’t want to see. There was bloody goo on the floor and workers wading through it in gumboots. There was more blood and parts on the counters. And to think that after all this the effluent is then directed to the already choking Nairobi River".

The post made me think that we may have to abandon a bit of our nyama choma culture and start promoting alternatives to meat. Cheese could be one of several excellent healthy alternatives. The good news is that the quality of most Kenyan cheeses has really gone up over the past few years and a wider variety of local cheeses is now readily available.

Try out some of Brown's cheeses for example, made in the highlands of Kenya from milk produced by hundred of smallholder farmers. They make delicious cheeses such as Camembert, Brie, Mozzarella, Feta, and much more.

Brown's informative website has more information about the process and explains the details about their different types of cheeses. The site also features some very nice cheese recipes, which can help you get rid of your nyama choma addiction.

Hey, and you can actually order online! Imagine, ordering cheese with your mouse... I have always known that mouses like cheese a lot! So let your mouse go for some cheese today!

Brown's is currently doing tasting sessions in different supermarkets most week-ends. Look out for their Marketing manager, Wanjiku, who is there on hand to advise and encourage customers to try new cheeses. Look for their branded fridge displays in some Nakumatt branches, Village and now also at Westgate and Junction.

Another interesting brand is Happy Cow, a medium-sized dairy factory in Nakuru. It also procures milk from small scale farmers and their main product line is cheese. Have a glimpse at their site for some more information.

Have you ever tried Kenyan cheese? If yes, which is your favourite one? Or do you want to stick to your nyama choma for the rest of your life?


Shiko-Msa said...

Rafiki thanks for the positive mention on your site.

The first thing I thought when you mentioned Cheese was ok how is cheese made. How clean and hygienic are the cheese makers. But it seems my fears are unfounded. The all important first impression you get from Brown’s and Happy Cow websites is that of a very clean place. A place you wouldn’t mind having your foodstuffs manufactured. I’m sure the situation on the ground too is the same.

Cheese is indeed a healthy alternative to meat. But would I be correct to say that this healthy dairy is only consumed by a few people? That majority really don’t know what it’s all about? It’s an almost elitist food – sort of like iced tea for example. Cheese makers therefore have to do more to push the use of cheese as an ordinary thing. Like make it as normal to go to a cheese shop as it is to go to the butchery. Something like that.

Rafiki said...

Shiko: These cheese "factories" are indeed a huge difference with the closed abattoirs in terms of hygiene.
And I also think you are right to say that only very few people consume cheese here. Maybe mainly tourists and expats, and a few Kenyans here and there. On the other hand, most of us really love milk (e.g. we would never take black tea without milk) and consumption of milk is relatively high in Kenya.
There used to be this "annual" wine and cheese festival (last year at the Carnivore grounds in Nairobi), but I am not sure if there will be anything like that this year. Now would be the right time for a cheesy campaign, with promotions, information and lower prices.

Shiko-Msa said...

Yeah more info has to be passed about the use of cheese. But see where the awareness is taking place - nakumatt Village market, westgate, junction, carnivore grounds..... they're still promoting the elitist mentality ama?

The best thing is to take cheese to the estates and the villages and the general public as a whole.

And to answer your question I do have some Kenyan cheese only yesterday I was not sure which. I checked it out jioni and surprise surprise, it's Browns Mozarella. That's a whole new crime - someone has Kenyan cheese and has no idea!

Rafiki said...

Shiko: How does the mozarella taste as compared to dog or donkey meat?
A survey by Nation Sunday established that meat of dubious quality is finding its way onto the market. Their team bumped into a group of about five men loading a sickly cow onto a pick-up that was reportedly slaughtered a few minutes later in Dagoretti. It is now emerging that game, dog and donkey meat might have found its way into most of the butcheries in the city: http://www.nation.co.ke/News/regional/-/1070/463174/-/6jqqvf/-/
NEMA has now lifted the ban on one of the five abattoirs and given them a two month license.

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