Cheese making in Ayacucho, Peru
conditions were also poor for marketing purposes, as the product was often left in the open for
a long time before being transported to the city”.
The arrival of the cheese plants marked the arrival of professionalism. Danny Bautista told us
that “cheeses were often confiscated because they lacked the approval of a Health Authority,
which adversely affected not only the merchant but also the producer, as the products were
often delivered on credit.” One of the benefits of the cheese plants was their ability to comply
with the requirements of the “Milk Regulations” that established essential hygiene measures,
good quality and an appropriate production process.
Getting to know the plants
The noise of the van’s engine stopped; we had reached our destination. We would shortly be
visiting the various cheese plants in the town of Alpachaka and we were in for a pleasant
surprise. It is hard to believe that we were greeted by a producer dressed in white like a
surgeon, asking us to put on an apron and a mask, when previously the workers gave no
consideration to the hygienic condition of their product. Looking at the milk-purifying
machines and the moulds that convert the cheeses into standard products, it is unbelievable
that a short time ago they were “shaped by hand and in all different sizes”.
The cheese plants we visited all had the same structure: two or three rooms in which the
cheese manufacturing process is divided, one cold room for working with the dairy products,
and a plant manager dressed in white. One of them is Ronald Huamani, who told us that
before working in the cheese plant he had no idea how to make cheese. “I was trained and
now I am familiar with the subject”, he said in a tone of voice that will always sound humble.