Razan Alsous came to the UK after fleeing the war in Syria in 2012 with her husband and three young children. After recognising the quality of British milk and struggling to find her family’s favourite Halloumi cheese, she began looking into starting her own business.
Through research, Razan discovered Britain was the biggest consumer of Halloumi in Europe, and realised the key ingredient was surrounding her every day.
“The quality of Yorkshire milk is excellent, much creamier with a high percentage of solids,” says Razan, who has a degree in pharmaceuticals and a strong background in microbiology.
“In Syria, the best Halloumi is made in spring when grass is new and green, but here the climate is more consistent for good pasture, so milk is more consistent in quality.”
With a small business loan, she started manufacturing in June 2014 and after just four months of production she won the World Cheese Award bronze prize, taking the gold accolade the year after.
Now branded Yorkshire Squeaky Cheese, thanks to its signature texture, her Halloumi went on sale in Morrisons stores last year via The Nation’s Local Foodmakers campaign, and now currently stands at 275 stores nationwide.
Razan says: “The initiative encourages small producers to grow and work in a professional way.”
The 1,000 litres of milk is collected daily from a local dairy farmer and turned into about 2,500 blocks of Halloumi each week, with flavours including rosemary, smoked and chilli.
Razan says: “The business is also working on producing Halloumi from 100 per cent goat’s milk, and hopefully we can increase the current amount and cover all needs in the market.”
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