It isn’t every day that we hear from a home cheese maker in Russia! And it isn’t every day that we correspond with a fascinating a young woman (34) who has won writing competitions and traveled to 10 countries in Europe, Asia and the Mideast. Tatiana confirms our longtime belief that cheese makers are the most interesting people in the world.
Tatiana lives in the outskirts of Yekaterinburg, the 4th largest city in Russia.
She began making cheese 4 years ago, using goat’s milk from one of her neighbors. Since then, she has acquired 2 goats and she is planning to raise more.
She did an internship this past June at a dairy in Lipetsk where they make Camembert and she has been making it herself since then. She told us she would like to become an official producer, but that would involve a large investment and the interest rate is 30%. So, she is saving her money to build a shop that would be approved by the Sanitary Service.
As it is now, she cannot sell her cheese to anyone but her friends. She told us that in Russia, there is the concept of a private farm where you can grow fruits and vegetables and sell them without a license and without paying taxes. She wishes that would include dairy products so she could sell her cheese (don’t we all?).
She is making Camembert and a hard goat cheese with different flavors added- basil, walnuts, paprika, rosemary, etc. And, in the summer she makes Halloumi on the barbeque. She’s thinking about trying to make Cheddar and Red Windsor.
For her cave, she uses a refrigerator which keeps the temperature above 12C. (She said there is an duct with coolant, and if you squeeze it with pliers, the intake of coolant becomes less.)
She made her press:
Tatiana built her house (using a building company) after demolishing the old one that was there. She used materials from the old house to build a wood shed in the front corner of her property and in that, she partitioned an area for her goats. Her plan is to build a new goat shed in back of her property.
When she isn’t making cheese or tending her goats, Tatiana works remotely as a proof reader for a news agency. She wears clean clothes from 8am-6pm, then she changes into her real “work” clothes.
Since she graduated from Ural State University in 2004 with a degree in journalism, Tatiana has traveled to Finland, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Nothern Marian Islands (Saipan), South Korea, Thailand, Turkey and Egypt. Two of those trips (to Japan in 2006 and to South Korea in 2009) were won in creative writing competitions. She was the first winner from Russia!
Her main prize, in 2006, was in a competition to create a story with a travel theme. Her idea was to journey in the footsteps of the hero of a popular writer, Haruki Murakami. Out of 15,000 entries, they chose hers. She was given $15,000 to make the trip. She took her mother and brother with her.
In Ginza, Tokyo, she met the translator (from Japanese to Russian) of H. Murakami’s book. Tatiana said he was very cool and clever and he was her guide. She was able to go to Saipan (Marians Islands), home of the most constant temperature on earth. It was an unforgettable experience.
Someday, Tatiana would like to move to a warmer climate so she can grow grapes and make wine. She wanted us to know:
I think that the task of each man/woman is to find a mission – a cause which he/she is the best at.
And this is the way to be happy, no matter what.
So, I’m seeking to do good and useful things for myself and for my environment, and I do it, I suppose.
This is my life philosophy.
Tatiana would love to correspond with cheese makers in the United States, so please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org