Meet The Cheese Maker
Where the journey begins
My name is Hanan Sofer and I am Hanan Hagaban, Hanan the Cheesemaker. (Read my blog)
I stepped into the world of cheeses entirely by accident when bumping into a Tzfat Cheese recipe in Sherry Ansky’s book. Accompanied by my daughter Rotem, who was 5 years old at the time, I drove to a nearby goat farm, purchased goat’s milk and made cheese according to that recipe.
The surprisingly tasty result became a starting point of a journey into the magical world of cheeses. My next step on this journey was studying the art of making artisan cheeses in traditional methods. Quickly my house turned into a little fromagerie where I was producing an impressive variety of cheeses. On Fridays, people from around the area would arrive to purchase cheeses and other fresh delicacies produced by my neighbors.
Gradually I felt deep inside that this was the place where I belonged…
The next step was traveling to France and Italy to explore, study and eventually establish Hanan Hagaban’s fromagerie.
About the place
In the middle of an avocado plantation, in Moshav Herut, my partner Hadar and myself, renovated an old chicken house built by Hadar’s grandfather, Yoske Levin, and turned it into a fromagerie. It was important for us to preserve the past legacy while pouring new life and a modern spirit into the structure. Thus, we preserved our forefathers’ dream to construct Israel.
In the fromagerie, I make my cheeses, which are purchased in the small shop next to it.
In addition to my cheeses, you can find in the store the local farmers’ fresh produce such as: olive oil, citrus fruit, Syrian olives and a variety of seasonal produce (avocado, pineapple, citrus fruits, pecans, flowers and more). Also offered for you, displayed on the shelfs, are whole wheat and rye breads as well as fine wines, beers, homemade cakes and more.
The beauty of the place, the nature surrounding it, and the tranquility that penetrates the fromagerie through its windows are the basic important factors that contribute to the success of the cheese.
About the Cheese
In the fromagerie (cheese dairy) I make village artisanal cheese from goat’s milk, cow’s milk and sheep’s milk using traditional craftsmanship, as cheesemakers used to do centuries ago.
No artificial ingredients such as preservatives, stabilizers, flavor additives, food colors or milk powders are added to the cheese during production. The cheese production process preserves the traditional characteristics of each cheese by the particular attention paid to factors such as: type of milk, production process, the conditions for aging and ripening, etc.
The milk I use is milked daily in the cowshed and goat house in a strictly supervised milking process. The freshness of the milk and the personal touch guarantee the unique taste and quality of the various cheeses. All the cheeses are Kosher (Kashrut of Lev HaSharon Regional Council).
My cheeses are sold from the cheesemaker directly to the consumer with no retailers involved, which is reflected in the price, and thus enables you enjoying both freshness and attractive cheese prices.
In the fromagerie you will find a large selection of fresh and ripe French-style cheeses: Camembert, Saint-Maure, Brie and Tomme.
In addition, you can find: Tzfat cheese, salty Tzfat cheese, Labneh, yogurt (goat/sheep/beef), fresh mozzarella and more …
About the Experience
You are welcomed to take some time out and dive in a rural experience, dining under avocado trees enjoying their shade, or buying cheeses and treats in the delicatessen. Enjoy a pampering breakfast made entirely of locally produced cheeses and vegetables grown in the vegetable garden next to the fromagerie (in the winter), sip quality Italian coffee, and around lunch you can add white or red wine to the experience and feel for a moment as if you are in Provence …
All this, only 15 minutes from Netanya, Kfar Saba and Ra’anana.
This is me, this is the place, these are my cheeses, this is the experience, and this is my journey.
I invite you to join me on my journey.
Yours – Hanan the CheeseMaker