“Caucasus Cheese” was an initiative born during CBDN’s Kars Business Forum in early March 2007, where Armenian and Turkish dairy producers began exchanging cheese recipes and consequently came up with the idea of creating a new Caucasian cheese brand. This is an exciting initiative that underlines the interests in and potential of cross-boundary economic cooperation, especially in the border regions.
To carry the idea forward and to provide a platform for Armenian, Azerbaiijani, Georgian, Turkish, Abkhaz, Ossetian and Karabakhi dairy producers to connect and cooperate, CBDN launched the Caucasus Cheese brand.
The first South Caucasian Cheese Exhibition took place in May 2008 in Gyumri, Armenia, as a follow-up to the Kars Business Forum.
The exhibition marked the launch of the Caucasus Cheese jointly produced by the Armenian, Turkish and Georgian cheese producers. Hundreds of people visited the exhibition – international organizations, cheese makers, public officials, embassies and others. The event received a great deal of publicity both within the region and internationally, including an article in the Economist.
Between May and June Caucasus Cheese was presented in various supermarkets in Gyumri, Yerevan, Tbilisi, Ninotsminda and Kars. All presentations included members of the CBDN team from different entities. These were also covered by a multitude of media outlets (mainly TV and print media).
The Second South Caucasus Cheese Exhibition took place in July 2010 in Tbilisi. The programme included excursions to cheese factories, the sharing of recipes, and the exhibition of cheeses from different regions of the South Caucasus including the Caucasus Cheese. The event was attended by the chairs of the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan Cheese-makers Associations, representatives of the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture, and representatives from non-governmental structures. The overwhelming majority of participants expressed support for CBDN’s initiative to work towards establishing the Caucasus Association of Cheese-makers after the conference.
In 2011, CBDN’s Gyumri office invited cheesemakers from Racha to come and learn the secret of Caucasus Cheese. The trip provided an excellent learning experience for both sides, and helped to expand awareness of the brand.