It’s not everyday that you get to step into an almost 200 year old family business and create a product using a recipe equally as old–but today a friend and I did just that. We walked into the Kadosh Tzfat Cheese shop and spent the day making cheese alongside 7th generation cheese makers.
Seven generations ago, the youngest of 24 siblings left Morocco to fulfill his dream of moving to Israel when he was only 12 years old. He came to Israel by himself and decided to settle in Tzfat because it was a good place to raise sheep and goats. Here in Tzfat, he continued his family’s’ tradition of cheese making.
Making cheese is not easy. There is a lot of artistry and knowledge involved throughout the entire process. The milk has to be heated from a certain temperature to a certain temperature. The enzymes have to be added at the exact right temperature. You have to wait until the curds set up enough for you to break them apart again and then you have to wait for the curds to fall to the bottom.
Once you get all of the cheese curds into their mold and squeeze as much water out as you can, you have to flip the cheese in the mold–move it to another location, take it out of the mold, cover it in salt, put it back into the mold, put it on a shelf to wait until it forms a rind and then take it out of the mold a
When their great grandfather first came to Israel, he only made cheese made out of a mix of goat and sheep milk that he would preserve in salt. Today at Kadosh Tzfat Cheese the family makes all different kinds of cheeses–whatever people ask for; including the type of cheese now called Tzfat cheese, that their great grandfather used to make.
The two brothers, Chaim and Yoav, have been making cheese from the time that they were young boys. If you ever have the opportunity to watch them work, you will be able to see the true artistry and precision that goes into cheesemaking.
You can buy Kadosh Tzfat cheeses in little stores in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, but most of their sales are done out of their little Cheeserier in Tzfat. The Kadosh family also makes and sells halvah–it’s equally as special and also definitely not to miss. Go visit Kadosh Tzfat Cheese on a Sunday or Thursday for a chance to see cheese making in the process.