Amal al-Ghorayeb, 67, is one of the few cheese makers in the western Bekaa Valley to still maintain the tradition of Ambarees (The Daily Star/Hasan Shaaban)
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The art of cheese-making in earthenware jars has survived for over 2,000 years in Lebanon, but it now runs the risk of becoming extinct.Fifteen days after the milk is added, lactoserum – the water residue of the milk – is removed via a small tube placed at the bottom of the jar.As part of the project led by the Food Heritage Foundation and Zahle Chamber of Commerce, 25 cheese producers in the Bekaa Valley received safety training.Josephine Naim Bou Hammoud, 67, made Ambarees according to her mother's instructions until last year, when she halted all production of the cheese.Every kilo of Ambarees requires seven liters of milk, which adds up to 280 liters for each 40 kilo jar. The final product was not of the same quality because the steel jars allowed no oxygen to circulate.By lending a hand to cheese producers, the organization also hopes to breathe new life into the ancient art of "sirdeleh" pottery-making, reviving two dying arts at once.
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