Yorkshire Dama Cheese is the story of inspirational bravery by a woman who refused to let her circumstances define or constrain her. It is about finding a new place to call home and new experiences leading to the creation of a British, multi-award-winning cheese and dairy company.
Razan Alsous, the founder of Yorkshire Dama Cheese, came to the UK due to the war in Syria in 2012. 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 ingredients and was frustrated not to find available the great tasting squeaky cheese she used to eat in Syria each morning. She saw an opportunity to create the same cheese from fresh, high quality Yorkshire cows’ milk!
The first product was Yorkshire Halum, a cheese made from 100% Yorkshire milk with a firm but squeaky texture, similar to traditional halloumi cheese.
Razan has gone on to expand the product range to include more Yorkshire Squeaky cheese varieties including chilli rosemary and mint.
Just now I’m loving her new product, Labneh, a healthy replacement for cream cheese. Razan tells me it’s made from pressed yoghurt, with no nasty additives and can be spread on top of bagels or toast, added to pasta sauces or baked in cheesecakes or other desserts. Yum!
A regular exhibitor at the 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’ and ‘Countryfile’. And just this week she is on BBC TV with Nadia on her British Food Adventure.
Her many awards include:
Short listed for the British Muslim Award 2016
Won The World Cheese Award Gold prize 2016/17
Won The British Cheese Award Silver prize 2016
It was a pleasure to share a table with her and her husband at last year’s Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Awards where they won Best Cheese in Yorkshire 2016 with their Halum Chilli variety. She has recently been shortlisted as best Producer in Great Food Club Awards 2017.
Early in 2017 she moved to new premises in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, to expand her business and she was honoured to open the new factory with the presence of HRH The Princess Royal.
Here are a few suggestions from Razan on how to enjoy her cheese. 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 recently revamped its website to include Halum inspired recipes, and you can now purchase all the current product range here via the online shop. You’ll also find their products in: Fodder, Harrogate; Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton; and George & Joseph, Leeds.
Truly inspirational lady!