Cheese tops the bill of new tourist route across the Mediterranean

Pecorino, rigouta, rumi, feta, labneh: these are some of the cheeses that travelers will be able to taste along the 28 stages of the "Route of Mediterranean dairy products", a cross-border itinerary that was designed by the LACTIMED project.

It is no secret that almost all of the best cheese-producing countries in the world surround the Mediterranean Sea. Usually made from goat or sheep's milk and typically fresh or brined (but not aged), cheeses from the Mediterranean area are known to be really delicious.

In the collective imagination, traditional cheeses are associated with natural landscapes, passionate men and women as well as well with the culture and history of the territories they come from. As many ingredients that are now part of the "Route of Mediterranean dairy products", a tourism itinerary across regions of Tunisia (Bizerte and Béja), Italy (Sicily), Greece (Thessaly), Egypt (Alexandria and Beheira) and Lebanon (Bekka).

The route was designed by the LACTIMED project: it offers a journey made of 28 tasty stages during which travelers have the opportunity to enjoy typical cheeses and actually learn to make them. Farms featured in the guide edited by the project also offer hiking, cultural tours, cooking lessons, accommodation options and the possibility to participate in daily activities like milking the ewes. As per the guide, many activities are suitable for children and people with reduced mobility.

Rural development

By providing this type of services, dairy farmers can generate additional income, come into direct contact with consumers and share their passion for their work. This is exactly the philosophy of Zied Ben Youssef, owner of Borj Lella, a cheese factory located in Béja, 100 kilometers East of Tunis. "I intend to create a direct link between consumers and cheese makers of the region", he says. Thanks to LACTIMED, Mr. Ben Youssef received a financial support to improve kitchen equipment and the cheese processing facility, so that tourists may be welcomed in the best possible conditions. "The economic value added will stay in the region and benefit to local farmers."

The ambition of LACTIMED is to create a truly genuine experience, based on traditions, typical products, hospitality and conviviality. "The route aims to attract visitors to the heart of rural areas in the Mediterranean. It will be promoted by responsible travel agencies and other sustainable tourism stakeholders," explains Mr. Aurélien Baudoin, the coordinator of LACTIMED.

Let’s move from words to actions: put your best trekking shoes on and hit the road of Mediterranean dairy products.

The route of Mediterranean dairy products: download the guide
Read the LACTIMED final brochure
Visit the project website

LACTIMED at a glance
Implemented from 2012 to 2015, the LACTIMED project aimed to strengthen the production and distribution of typical dairy products in the Mediterranean region through the coordination of local industries, the support to dairy producers and the promotion of their products on local and international markets. The project was leaded by the French organization "ANIMA Investment Network" and gathered 11 partners from Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon and Tunisia. LACTIMED was funded by the ENPI CBC Med Programme for an amount of €4.35 million.

Aurélien Baudoin
ANIMA Investment Network
+33 4 96 11 67 63