Tuesday, 23 January 2018

import/export or war and cheese

The Atlantic features a short documentary from Ben Garfield on the self-proclaimed saviour to Russian turophiles named Oleg Sirota, a former IT professional who realised his true-calling once trade embargos were enacted on all sides in response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the importation of European cheese was banned.
While I’m pretty sure that this is very much against the spirit of the legal protections extended to geographically distinct food products, Sirota is supplying otherwise unavailable varieties of Italian, French and English cheeses from his factory, the profile does present some interesting questions on patriotism, nativism and opportunism. Cheese is an especially interesting item to “traffic” because of its cultural resonance and attachment to a specific location and given the fact that for a perishable item, it is pretty portable and was among one of the first food traditions that people exported.