Whether you like yours with crackers or oozing out of pies, bound through pasta, or sandwiched in French toast, there is a lot to love about cheese in India.
Although most of us eat cheese frequently, there’s probably a lot about the smelly stuff you didn’t know. So we quizzed cheesemongers and chefs on the varieties of cheese and the dishes that are most suited for those. And if that makes you crave cheese, we have a list of places to order them too.
Salty and sharp, feta is the ultimate flavour booster. Crumbled on a salad – this cheese can give salad-avoiders a reason to sift through the greens. But feta is not just for Greek salad. This soft white cheese can lend creaminess and a sharp, salty punch to a variety of dishes that might otherwise be too simple or austere on their own. You can crumble it over soups, toss it with roasted vegetables and pastas, and use it in pies and galettes.
How to eat:
“You can warm some feta, drizzle honey and some caramelised walnut, and have it as a dessert. You can even bake it with onions and tomatoes at 200 degrees for 10 minutes and drizzle olive oil over to pair it with fresh flatbread,” says Nandini Sundaresan, founder and partner of Käse, an artisanal cheese brand from Chennai. Nothing pairs better than juicy watermelon and salty feta.
Just as you always have a bottle of wine on hand for unexpected company and meat in the freezer, it’s a good idea to have a sharp triangle of Parmesan in your cheese drawer. With its nutty, salty, and umami flavour Parmesan can make any savoury dish better flavoured.
How to eat:
“I love working with this rich, aromatic and versatile cheese. It works very well in a beef carpaccio or a creamy, comforting mushroom lasagna. A simple Napoli pizza with prosciutto and Parmigiano tastes beautiful,” says Daya Singh, chef at Mumbai’s CinCin. A generous helping of well-aged Parmigiano can add an extra layer of flavour to a simple and highly satisfying aglio e olio.
There is nothing that a sprinkle or slice of mozzarella can’t fix. This silky, soft and mildly flavoured cheese is made by heating curds in water or whey until they form strings, then the curds are stretched, kneaded until smooth. This is why this ooey-gooey cheese is also known as string cheese. From saucy lasagna to the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich and creamy ratatouille, mozzarella is the cheese to turn to.
How to eat:
“Buffalo mozzarella on a freshly out of the oven pizza will give it a depth of flavour unmatched from any store-bought pizza,” says Dhvani Desai founder of Casa Del Cheese. A watermelon ceviche tossed with mint and balsamic vinegar and drizzled with mozzarella can be highly addictive.
Savoury, sharp and always available, cheddar is the most versatile of the lot. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of cheeses. Sprinkled it atop a casserole, melt it into a dip, grate it into a delicious apple pie, sprinkle on nachos or spread on a warm burger – cheddar never disappoints.
How to eat:
Devilled eggs with a topping of mashed egg yolks, mayonnaise, crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar makes for a quick and scrumptious appetizer. Warm and gooey cheddar fondue along with your favourite bread, crisp green apples or potatoes makes a great centrepiece for a cosy date night.
This creamy, delicate cheese encased in a soft, powdery-white edible rind is one of the most renowned French cheeses in the world. It is traditionally served with baguette or any crusty bread that won’t compete with the cheese.
How to eat:
Plain crackers are a convenient choice that won’t detract from the cheese. Of course, baked brie with a generous drizzle of honey or maple syrup is how you transform a good brie into a spectacular brie. When you cut through the rind and the inside comes pouring out like lava, you’ll forget all your troubles. Or alternately thread apple and brie cubes on a skewer and drizzle with caramel topping for a mind-blowing starter. And yes, you can eat the rind!
Here’s a list of the best places to order cheese in India –
Best places to order cheese in Delhi
Must order: Gouda infused with various flavours like oregano, cumin and black pepper
Must order: Kalari a Kashmiri cheese
Call: 94 190 454 20
Best places to order cheese in Chennai
Must order: Feta marinated in olive oil, paprika, garlic and thyme and cheddar coated with malagai podi
Call: 99406 54634
Must order: Halloumi
Call: 94432 32621
Best places to order cheese in Mumbai
Casa Del Cheese
Must order: Feta, cream cheese
Call: 93237 13358
Must order: Burrata, Belper Knoller
Call: 98201 41599
Best place to order cheese in Pune
Must try: Halloumi, Mozzarella, Montery Jack
Call: 80808 86856
Best place to order cheese in Bengaluru
Must order: Brie, gruyere, feta, orange-rind Bel Paese
Call: 98863 77853
All images: Courtesy brands