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The Mount Lebanon range, traditionally a Maronite stronghold, rises among the last surviving century-old cedars. Here, Baladi goats graze and Darfiyeh, a cheese made with raw goat milk, is still produced. This cheese has distinctive packaging: goatskin (Dariff) is cleaned and salted and then used as casing during the aging process. The goat milk, first filtered, is left to sit for a minimum of 24 hours before adding rennet from a kid and allowing it to solidify at 30-35 degrees Celsius. The curds are worked by hand, first broken into pieces then smashed together and formed into a ball, which is salted and dried and then broken a second time with a knife and left to sit for 12 hours. Arichi, a type of ricotta that is either salted or sweetened, is made by warming up the whey residue. The goatskin is cleaned and salted. The legs are tied with a cord, leaving only the neck open. Inside the body, the cheese and Arichi are arranged in alternating layers. They are aged in humid caves where they harden for a minimum of one month and a maximum of six. Production of the cheese requires the labor of the entire family: the father usually slaughters the goats, while the children tend the herd and the mother produces the cheese. Fresh cheese is often sold at the butcher shop alongside goat meat.

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Mount Lebanon

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Milk and milk products