Kremlin support for pro-Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine has left food lovers missing out some of their favourite ingredients.
After the European Union imposed economic sanctions on the superpower, justified by its role in the Ukraine crisis, Vladimir Putin’s government retaliated with a trade ban.
This included delicacies including the popular Italian cheese mozzarella.
But monks living in a remote monastery on an island in Russia have managed to circumnavigate this problem in a unique and proactive way: they have set up a mozzarella factory.
The agricultural manager at the Orthodox monster at Valaam, which has a farm on the grounds, was sent to Italy to learn cheese making first hand.
Photos of Father Agapy sent to Breitbart London show the monk in his robes and kamilavka hat posing with cheese and making what looks to be mozzarella.
Authorities at the monastery expect the cheese production line to be up and running by December.
Mikhail Shishkov, a spokesman for the monastery, told the Daily Telegraph that the skills learned on the course will be shared amongst the community at the Monastery.
“Father Agapy did a course on how to make several types of Italian cheese and now he will teach the other monks and we will have our own small cheese factory,” he said.
Initially the plan was to sell only “a little” of the cheese, which Mr Shishkov said was unrelated to the import ban brought in by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on August 7th.
“Mostly it will go for internal use in the monks’ and pilgrims’ refectories but a little may be sold on the external market,” he told the newspaper.
However as news of the new cheese making spreads across the world the monks may find that their cheese is in demand outside the small island as people try to get a slice of the Russian made Italian favourite.