Don­keys get some love in the dairy

Me­gan Baad­jies takes a look at the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of a new aler­na­tive to cow’s milk

The Sunday Independent - - FOOD -

AS A child, I knew and con­sumed only two kinds of milk – full cream and skimmed milk – and they both came from a cow.

Trends have changed with the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of soy, al­mond, co­conut and even in­sect “milk”.

So it’s not sur­pris­ing don­key milk should be con­sid­ered as an aler­na­tive to cow’s.

Be­sides, if sci­en­tists could con­vince us to try cock­roach “milk”, then don­key dairy farm­ers shouldn’t need too much con­vinc­ing.

Don­key milk (or ass milk) is said to be the next big thing and those who have had it swear by it.

While it may still be a fairly new trend in South Africa, don­key milk has been used and con­sumed for don­key’s years.

It is said that Cleopa­tra, the queen of an­cient Egypt, would reg­u­larly take a bath in don­key milk to keep her skin soft and beau­ti­ful.

So if you’ve been tak­ing milk baths and your skin is still a lit­tle ashy, chances are you’ve been us­ing the wrong milk.

Don­key milk has be­come pop­u­lar in Europe, where it has been used to pro­duce choco­late and even the most ex­pen­sive cheese.

Food­bev.com re­ports that Swiss choco­late maker Fornerod has teamed up with Euro­lac­tics, a com­pany that sells don­key milk, to make the first don­key milk choco­late bar.

The choco­late is said to be suit­able for peo­ple who are al­ler­gic to cow’s milk and also to have a longer shelf life. The site re­ports that the idea for the choco­late came about when the choco­late maker wanted to present it to the pope when he vis­ited Rome.

In Ser­bia, you can sink your teeth into the world’s ex­pen­sive cheese, made with don­key milk.

Forbes.com says the cheese, known as Pule, costs around $600 per pound (about R18 000 for 1kg) is made from the milk of Balkan don­keys na­tive only to Ser­bia and Mon­tene­gro and re­quires 25 litres of milk to pro­duce just 1kg.

The Tele­graph re­ports that Ser­bian ten­nis cham­pion, No­vak Djokovic has bought an an­nual sup­ply of don­key cheese for his chain of restau­rants.

Lo­cal don­key milk farmer Jesse Chris­telis said it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore South Africa catches up.

The co-owner of The Don­key Dairy, the first don­key dairy farm in South Africa, he said the milk is “highly palat­able” with a nat­u­ral sweet­ness.

“It has a re­ally nice taste,” Chris­telis said.

“It’s very low in fat. It’s like skim milk, but it’s high in lac­tose so it has a sweet taste. It tastes al­most like co­conut milk, with an al­mond af­ter taste.”

Chris­telis said there were many health ben­e­fits.

“We did our re­search and found in Europe there is quite a big move to­wards the health ben­e­fits of the milk.

“The milk it­self has a nat­u­ral an­ti­his­tamine and a nat­u­ral an­tibi­otic.

“We’ve had peo­ple with asthma and peo­ple with whoop­ing cough who have drunk the milk and it has helped them with that.

“There is also a nat­u­ral an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory in the milk as well. It’s good for peo­ple with skin con­di­tions like pso­ri­a­sis and eczema.

“It’s the only milk that con­tains th­ese prop­er­ties.”

Don­key milk is also high in vi­ta­min C and it is the clos­est to hu­man milk, which makes it the best sub­sti­tute for chil­dren who are al­ler­gic to for­mula.

The Don­key Dairy Farm, home to 92 res­cue don­keys, pro­duces all­nat­u­ral beauty prod­ucts made with don­key milk.

“We’re still quite small and a niche mar­ket, but I think it’s a mat­ter of time and then there’ll be a cou­ple more (farms) pop­ping up.

“Peo­ple are re­al­is­ing how in­cred­i­ble the milk and its health ben­e­fits are.”

Sud­denly the Afrikaans song, Die Donkie is ’n Won­der­like Ding, takes on a whole new mean­ing.

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