Hanan Hagaban, England branch! Monkland, England, July 2017

Driving on the A44, downhill on a country road, everything is calm and peaceful.

Suddenly an old church on the left side of the road, the vehicle turns right and enters a farm.

In front of a country house built of red bricks, a beautiful garden with stunning blooming flowers in the house front.

On the left side of the courtyard, a wooden building with a rusty tin roof, in front of which stands an elderly man, holding a disk and cutting a concrete floor precisely.

I walk down the gravel path toward the white building on which a small sign “Open – Monkland Dairy”

I cross the doorstep and the thought that passes right through my mind: Hanan Hagaban, England branch!

A small cheese refrigerator presents the cheeses produced in the place, behind which is a small kitchen equipped with a coffee machine, a bell glass dome cake stand on foot showing a number of typical English cakes, rolls that have just come out of the oven are set to cool on a net and fill the space with a sweet fresh pastries’ smell, a pot of soup, a shelf with teapots that indicate that at five o’clock it will be packed here …

Shelves are scattered throughout the store and it is possible to purchase from a selection of jams, beer bottles and local gin.

Among these are a few tables where polite Englishmen sit.

A glass door from which you can view the aging room, in the center of which is a traditional wooden container for cheese-making. This is where, Karen, the landlady, prepares the cheeses sold in the place.

It reminds me so much of my fromagerie in Israel …

Karen, the owner of the place, decided one day to learn the cheese making craft and open the place.

And so she tells: “One Friday evening, my husband and I sat drinking beer together, and then I suggested that we open a Dairy with a small shop and prepare cheese and light breakfasts …

But there was one small problem, I do not know how to make cheese … “Karen bursts out laughing, shaking the top floor and then continues:

“I looked for a recipe of cheese, and then I found Little Hereford, a cheese made of unpasteurized milk, that suited perfectly because I did not have a pasteurizer, it also didn’t required a roller and I did not have a roller… so that’s how my first cheese was born..”

She counts with one finger. “I took the Little Hereford and smoked it in the smoker and that’s how my second cheese was born, ‘smoked Little Hurford’. ” She then counts with two fingers and laughing loudly.

That’s how she counts all the cheeses she learned to make.

Later, she enrolled in studies and today she makes a large selection of traditional English cheeses and several French cheeses and sells it in the place.

In addition to cheeses, local agricultural produce can also be purchased, and the place serves as a café serving light meals.

In the Cheese Making Room Karen gives workshops, and that was the reason why we came to the place.

Hadar settled on the top floor next to a window facing the landscape, opens the computer and started working.

I went down to the Cheese Making Room and join the group of cheese-makers that was already warming the milk, a preliminary stage in making the Monkland Cheese.

 

It is already 13:00 and I take a break and join the room on the second floor.

Karen serves us a loaded (not really) plate that includes a slice of cheese, a slice of apple, half a grape, a few celery rings, one walnut and a roll, and of course an English teapot.

We enjoy the scenery and the atmosphere of the place and then return to the Cheese Making Room to finish the cheese-making process …

It’s already afternoon, we’re saying good-bye to Karen,

We have a long way driving to Plymouth in the southwest of the island.

See you in the next letter.

yours

Hanan Hagaban