Personal Finance

What moves my cheese

Maulik Tewari | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on February 08, 2015

Cheese in modern times has become the gourmet’s delight. Some varieties can be really expensive



After featuring several articles about wine in this column, we thought, why not cheese — that classic wine accompaniment?

There are over 1,400 types of cheese from 73 countries listed on Cheese.com. It turns out that cheeses vary depending on the country of origin, type of milk, texture, and even colour. The earliest evidence of cheese-making dates all the way back to nearly 5,500 BC in Poland. Cheese was an everyday staple in Rome during its heydays.

Cheese in modern times has become the gourmet’s delight. Some varieties can be really expensive. Pule, made in a farm in Zasavica, Serbia from smoked donkey milk reportedly goes for ₹69,000 a kg. White Stilton Gold from the British Isles sells at a relatively moderate ₹48,000 a kg and contains gold. And then, there’s Elk House Cheese of Sweden, produced from moose milk that retails for ₹34,000 a kg.

Dangerous delicacy

But there are some pretty weird cheeses out there, too. A top contender for the ‘Weirdest’ crown is Epoisses, banned from public transportation in France because it is so smelly.

For all those brave hearts out there, there’s Casu Marzu, a traditional Sardinian cheese that comes infested with live maggots. Literally, the Casu Marzu is rotten pecorino cheese, made from sheep milk.

Once a block of cheese is readied, it is left out in the open to attract flies, which settle on it and lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch into larvae and begin feasting on the cheese, the pecorino is gradually transformed into a gooey Casu Marzu, with its very own unique taste.

But, for those of you who squirm at the very thought of worm-laden cheeses, you could try the perfectly harmless ‘Ubriaco Prosecco’ or the drunken cheese. Made in northern Italy’s Veneto region, the cheese is stored with grapes to give it the gentle flavour and aroma of wine. So, how did Veneto folks chance upon this idea?

There’s a story behind that. During World War I, the local farmers hid wheels of cheese in wine barrels, to save their food from the passing-by Austrian and Hungarian troops. When they later retrieved the cheese, they found that it had acquired an interesting taste.

What goes well with it

So, how is cheese typically consumed? The most popular pairing is of wine with cheese. In India, wine and cheese tasting events are increasingly becoming popular.

Sula Vineyards have their annual Wine Cheese & Chocolate Festival in July. For the wine lovers among us, the Annual Wine Festival at Bandra in Mumbai is a great way to try out wine with several kinds of cheeses. The Orion Wine Festival in Bengaluru is a three-day extravaganza of cheese tasting, grape stomping, and wine tasting of over 30 Indian brands.

But wine is not the only thing that cheese can be paired with. Depending on the type of cheese, it can easily be had with a wide variety of foods.

Take, for instance, Brie, a soft salty cheese that goes well with fruits such as apple or fig as well as crackers. Feta is a crumbly cheese that tastes good in combination with olives, grapes, pomegranates, salad greens, or even tortilla chips. Gouda, a pungent orange cheese, goes well with peaches, pears, nuts, spinach, and potatoes. Mozzarella is a soft, rubbery cheese that tastes lovely with tomatoes or basil, while Mascarpone goes great with strawberries, dried fruits, walnuts, and chutneys.

Sounds tempting? Where to find them? Several Indian firms now offer a variety of cheese that can be delivered at your doorstep. Godrej Nature’s Basket is a great place to pick up cheeses in many cities — Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. Then there’s RRO Cheese Bar that has outlets in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. Don’t notice Chennai in these listings? Not to worry. Cheese lovers down south, you can get your cheese fix at the Gormei Market, Brown Tree or Nuts and Spices.

So are you all ready to stock up on cheese?



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