Yorkshire Dama Cheese
Yorkshire Dama Cheese founder Razan Alsous came to the UK in 2012 due to the Syrian war. After losing almost everything, settling into a new life in Yorkshire was challenging.
Razan rightly perceived Yorkshire as a region rich in high-quality food produce, and was frustrated not to find the great-tasting ‘squeaky’ cheese she used to eat in Syria each morning. She saw an opportunity to create the same cheese using fresh Yorkshire cows’ milk!
Her first product was Yorkshire Halum, a cheese made from 100% Yorkshire milk with a firm texture, similar to traditional halloumi. Razan has gone on to expand the product range to include more Yorkshire squeaky cheese varieties including chilli and mint.
A regular exhibitor at local food festivals and farmers’ markets, Razan is also invited to appear regularly on well-known TV shows including James Martin’s Home Comforts, My Kitchen Rules UK, Countryfile, and Nadiya’s British Food Adventure.
She was shortlisted for the British Muslim Award 2016, and won Gold at The World Cheese Awards in 2016/17, as well as Silver at The British Cheese Awards in 2016. In 2017 she was shortlisted for Best Producer in our very own Great Food Club Awards. Early in 2017 she moved to new premises in Sowerby Bridge to expand her business and she was honoured to open the factory alongside HRH The Princess Royal.
We especially love one of her latest products – Labneh – a healthy replacement for cream cheese. Razan tells us it’s made from pressed yoghurt, with no nasty additives, and can be spread on bagels or toast, added to pasta sauces or baked in cheesecakes or other desserts.
Razan says: “A favourite way to eat halloumi is grilled with a salad, but it is enjoyable baked in the oven with mushrooms, grated with pasta, fried and dipped into hummus or eaten raw with grapes or watermelon, like they do in Damascus.”
Yorkshire Dama Cheese’s website includes Halum-inspired recipes, and you can now purchase the whole range via the online shop. You’ll also find Yorkshire Dama products in Fodder, Harrogate; Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton; and George & Joseph, Leeds.
By Ann Fugler, Yorkshire editor