Slow Cheese Bodrum A Huge Success!

Slow Cheese Bodrum – the first such event dedicated to artisanal cheese and dairy production in Turkey – ended last Sunday, marking a great success in terms of both public participation and the involvement of local authorities.


Organized by the Slow Food Yaves Gari Bodrum Convivium, together with the Municipality of Bodrum and the Chamber of Agriculture, the four day event took place from 5 – 8 March, in Milas & Bodrum. The event brought together national and international delegates including producers, experts, academics and students.


Slow Cheese Bodrum was the first such event to be organized in Turkey. It attracted dairy producers from several different areas of the country who had the opportunity to exhibit and showcase their products, as well as to attend the several panels, workshops and conferences organized by Slow Food with the support of relevant Turkish and international cheese experts, including Mr. Artun Ünsal – who presented his latest book “When Milk Sleeps”.


Other key attendees included the mayor of Bodrum, Mustafa Kocadan; the mayor of Milas, Muhammet Tokat; the President of the Milk Union of Milas, Ali Ihsan Gezgin; and the President of the Chamber of Agriculture, Mehmet Melengeç.


Food Hygiene Expert and Professor of Skopje University, Dr. Sonja Srbinovska, and Austrian cheese producer, Robert Paget, attended the event as Slow Food International guests, giving four different lectures on dairy hygiene standards within EU regulations: a hot topic for Turkey’s artisanal cheese production. Production is currently being threatened by the rigid implementation of safety regulation that de facto prevent artisanal dairy producers from accessing markets.


The leader of Slow Food Yaves Gari Bodrum Convivium, Deniz Kurtsan, believes the festival was a significant step in giving more attention to artisanal cheeses in Turkey and highlighting producers’ struggles for survival in the face of large-scale industrial production; although there is still a lot to be done. Together with her team, they very much appreciated the contribution and attention of local authorities and now plan to implement these kinds of collaborations for discussing small-scale production and educational programs for local schools.


Many local restaurants also supported the event, hosting events and organizing special menus. Slow Cheese Bodrum was also one of the first events ever organized by the Slow Food Yaves Gari Bodrum – a very young, yet very motivated convivium. By looking at the outcomes and reactions by the media, we feel confident in saying that the event was a great success and an important step in the right direction!


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