American Univesity of Beirut

ESDU supports the Food Heritage Foundation (FHF) Chouf workshop and training sessions on Sirdeleh & goat cheese making

​​FHF supports the Secours Islamique France (SIF) objectives to enhance the preservation of authentic food in the Chouf region. To this end, and with the support of ESDU, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Chouf Biosphere Reserve, three training sessions and workshops on making Sirdeleh and soft goat cheese were commissioned by the SIF and took place in Deir al Qamar, July 16, 17, and 23. 

“Sirdaleh is a climate-smart product which makes use of the seasonal goat milk production and is preserved for use during winter when goat milk is not available. Sirdeleh is made exclusively with raw goat milk and is removed from the vessel and used to make kishk during the production process. The bulk of the production is left to ferment in the jar, which gives its acidic taste. The cheese is then covered with olive oil and preserved in glass jars. 

Training day one saw FHF vice president Nadim Rawda, Agricultural Engineer, provide a general introduction to dairy products and white cheese making. Local farmers, cooperatives, and cheese makers learned extensive knowledge about Baladi Cheese making, with focus on the production of goat soft cheeses flavored with sun-dried ingredients such as herbs and tomatoes. Day two was a participatory workshop, facilitated by FHF president and ESDU Executive Officer Mabelle Chedid, Agricultural Engineer, and Marwa Soubra, ESDU’s Health and Nutrition Officer. Sirdeleh producers from the Chouf area gathered to learn about identifying the Sirdeleh production method and the challenges facing producers at different levels of the production process. Participants were motivated to share their experiences and the specific challenges they face, particularly with regard to the lack of good quality clay jars and effective marketing; the negative aspects of using plastic jars were addressed in a Food Safety session, which was followed with a presentation on Occupational Health. The third day provided basic training on Sirdeleh making: participants learned to prepare the clay jar prior to use and how to safely fill the jar with goat milk. The day concluded with tasting freshly made Sirdeleh cheese from a Baaqlin farmer. 

To help promote and preserve traditional Sirdeleh production, in late summer SIF will provide workshop participants with clay jars made by a local potter.

You can check the FHF original article here.

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