Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Where does Kefir come from?

What follows is an interesting and true story.
The cauliflower like grains of Kefir culture were thought of as having amazing healing powers as far back as the eighteenth century, and great care was taken by the Moslem tribesmen of the Caucasus not to allow any of it to pass out of their control, for they feared loosing its healing powers. It was virtually bequeathed from generation to generation as a source of family and tribal wealth.
Word of this powerful food/medicine spread to areas far from the Caucuses, and at the beginning of this century the All-Russian Physician's Society asked two brothers named Blandov, who owned cheese manufacturing factories in the Northern Caucasus town of Kislovodsk, for help in obtaining the culture grains of Kefir.
One of the brothers, Nikolai Blandov, persuaded a lovely young employee, Irina Sakharova, to use her beauty to gain access to the much desired grain. She therefore traveled to the Caucasus where she attempted to interest a local prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov, to assist her in this plot. When he declined to give up any of the precious substance she left to return to Kislovodsk, only to be captured by agents of the prince, who not content with not giving up the Kefir did not wish to loose the presence of the lovely Irina either.
Finding herself back in his presence and facing a proposal of marriage into the bargain she remained silent until a rescue mission arranged by her employers freed her. She promptly brought the prince before the Tsar’s court where she accepted grains of Kefir as the settlement of her suit for abduction.
In September 1908 Irina Sakharova brought the first bottles of Kefir to Moscow for sale where it was at first used for medicinal purposes. In 1973, Irina, then 85, was sent a letter from the Minister of the Food Industry of The Soviet Union, acknowledging her great part in bringing Kefir to the Russian people.