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Spirit of Africa in Sicily, the dromedary on Etna produces good milk- Corriere.it

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Santo Fragal has started an African farm in Sicily. It produces the white gold of the desert, precious for babies and diabetics. The company also offers a faunal collection that can be visited

An African farm on Etna. Inspired by what the Danish writer Karen Blixen he told in his autobiographical novel My Africa, hence the homonymous film directed by Sydney Pollack, with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. The writer’s dream was to start a dairy farm in Africa and the same one that in 2013 pushed Santo Fragal, Sicilian veterinarian then twenty-five, to open one for the production of dromedary milk. For on Etna.

The idea came to me during the last year of my PhD, reading an article on the properties of dromedary milk, presented as elixir of youth and panacea for many evils he tells. Fragal therefore begins to study the farms and, after choosing the model of the African farm, buys his first three dromedaries of European origin: two females and one male, also to spread a more aware culture of this animal in our territory, where the breeding of dromedaries was not new because it was already imported to Sicily by the Arab domination for the work in the solfataras and the production of milk recalls Fragal .

Initial distrust

Originally, the young veterinarian – whose surname, of Arabic derivation, means joy of Allah, although he has Norman traits – he would have liked to create a farm only for dromedaries, but the initial distrust of customers, towards a food considered foreign to our culture, led me to also take farm animals, that is geese and chickens, and other wild animals who coexist peacefully with each other. The wildlife collection of his Gjmla farm, in Trecastagni (Catania) close to the Etna Park, it includes Egyptian mongooses, African civets, Somali donkeys, marabs and zenettes, waiting to obtain the zoo license. Where however – Santo immediately specifies – the animals are not on display, but integrated into the context of the farm with their own meaning.

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Because Fragal is interested not only in the production aspect, but also the visual and cognitive one, through sensory paths that want to make this reality better known to visitors, adults and children, also through the culinary and convivial experience. The farm works, in fact, also like home restaurant where Fragal, as a cook as well as a breeder, offers traditional Sicilian cuisine, that of his grandmother, opening up to the sharing of typical local seasonal products and to the contamination of ingredients from North Africa.

Just like dromedary milk, from to taste alone or worked in puddings, in sandwiches, biscuits and pandorato, a special pandoro created by Santo with this white gold of the desert. Ideal to replace breast milk in the diet of newborns, but also to supplement the diet of diabetics because it contains a protein very similar to human insulin. Great for bone care, as it contains five times more calcium than cow’s milk. It is perfect for skin care, because rich in vitamin C and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant against aging. So much so that, apparently, the bewitching Cleopatra used to bathe not in donkey milk – a probable translation error explains Fragal – but in dromedary milk, much more appreciated by Egyptian culture as a great ally of beauty.

September 9, 2021 (change September 10, 2021 | 07:28)

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