İLHAN KOÇULU

Boğatepe Environment Life Association Chairman / Koçulu Cheese Board Chairman

İLHAN KOÇULU

Boğatepe Environment Life Association Chairman / Koçulu Cheese Board Chairman

Biography

İlhan Koçulu is a cheesemaker, a profession he learned from his family; and the master (usta), he continues to make local and artisanal cheeses (such as Gravyer, Kaşar, Malakan etc.) in his village. He is the founder of Boğatepe Environment and Life Association and of Slow Food Kars Community. He initiated the only cheese (eco)museum of Turkey “Ekomüze Zavot” and the local node of the global network of Solidarity Tourism. Among several other projects, he worked for the reproduction of Kavılca wheat seeds in Kars region, and thanks to his efforts this antique variety acquired a fame in national and international circles. The association organized many workshops that brought together local, traditional and scientific knowledge on medicinal, edible and aromatic plants of Kars highlands; they again became part of daily use of farmers. He is also a researcher focusing on local cheesemaking traditions of Anatolia and oral history, he worked as the project coordinator of “From Alps to Caucasus: 150 Years of Kars Cheesemaking” and “Local Cheesemaking Traditions of Kars and Ardahan.” Each summer he works with the Boğatepe Association in the organization of Anatolian Cheese Meeting in the village, and he cares the possibilities of bringing together local-traditional cheeses of Anatolia and the world of gastronomy in his village. Approximately 20.000 visitors come to Boğatepe village each year in order to visit the cheese ecomuseum, be hosted in villagers’ homes, and meet the women members of the village association.