Artisanal Cheese in India | MF Guide
India is the world’s largest producer of milk at over 150 million tonnes a year, and we are making all kinds of things out of it, except for cheese, for the most part. The tropical climate may be one reason why preservation of cheese has been difficult but there are pioneers on the forefront of this ‘grate’ initiative. Small, boutique cheese makers have been very successful in providing cheese to gouda and brie loving gourmands across the country and this is your easy guide to find the right artisanal cheesemaker for you.
Eleftheria Cheese is a micro creamery in Mumbai making European inspired cheese classics.
Started in 2014, they use time-honoured techniques to make fresh and preservative-free artisanal cheese with great flavour and intact nutrition. They believe great milk makes great cheese and hence source all their milk from a fully-automated, single-herd cow dairy farm close to Mumbai.
Eleftheria makes mozzarella (fior-di-latte), burrata, stracciatella, fromage blanc, buffalo milk feta and belper knolle (a creamy cheese ball with crushed garlic enrobed in black pepper), though they see most of their clients choosing their creamy burrata. This can be eaten alone or served with tomatoes and basil as a burrata caprese salad. You can even scoop some onto toast with a few slices of avocado, olive oil and salt and pepper for a truly satisfying snack.
The Spotted Crow Fromagerie was started by two brothers, Prateeksh and Agnay Mehra as their way of bringing delicious, 100% vegetarian cheese to the Indian consumer. Mehra tells us, “since cheese is not part of our usual breakfast meals or used as an ingredient in Indian cuisine except for paneer, we are seeing a change in the way people are using cheeses. Cheese is now a popular breakfast option and is also being used alone on a cheese plate or with other items as appetisers and snacks at parties and gatherings.”
The Spotted Cow mainly produces bloomy rind cheeses like the French favourites brie and camembert while they also do an Italian bloomy called robiola and a range of seven fresh cream cheeses with herbs, spices and nuts. The brothers are now producing upwards of 250kg of cheese a month from their Mumbai basement and are supplying to some of the city’s biggest names.
Casa Del Cheese
Established in November 2013, Casa Del Cheese which means “house of cheese” in Italian, is a gourmet cheese creamery, which produces premium quality artisanal cheese. All their cheeses are handmade, carefully aged, nurtured and cared for, till they are finally ready to be consumed.
Started by Dhvani Desai who was a business-journalist for nine years before taking the cheesy plunge, Casa Del cheese have an incredibly wide and diverse menu. As to what got Desai thinking about cheese, “food has been my weak point and a passion since childhood. And while I was bombarded with recipe books from my aunts abroad, I realized that 80% of all the recipes used cheeses which I had never heard of or were unavailable in India. That’s when I decided to learn how to make cheese myself to fulfil my own cheese eating desires.”
She started taking interest in learning cheese making in 2009. She spent time on various websites and also met with a European cheesemaker to learn how to make her own cheese. “I quit my job in September 2013, to take this up full time. Since then there has been no looking back.” Concludes Desai.
You can reach Dhvani at +91 9323713358