Feb 20 2018

French-speaking Turkish cheesemaker is internet hit

A village woman in Turkey has become an internet phenomenon after videos of her posted online were viewed more than 1 million times.

Zümran Ömür, a 46-year-old mother of two from the village of Boğatepe in Turkey’s northeastern province of Kars, was initially unaware of her newfound fame.

But she cannot hide her pleasure as she watches videos of herself describing the local tradition of cheese-making, local flora and speaking French.

“It’s not our job to be a phenomenon. We are village women,” she said.

Her fame has its roots in 2007, when Boğatepe’s “Environment and Life Association” was founded and the village began to promote itself as an eco-tourism destination. As part of its activities the foundation began providing local women with communication courses and even yoga classes. French language classes were also provided as the village aims to attract French eco-tourists to the village.

Boğatepe’s decision to promote itself to French tourists is partly explained by the arrival of David Moser, a Swiss cheesemaker, around a century ago. Moser started producing a kind of cheese in the village that has become known as Kars Gruyère and is famous throughout Turkey.