#MumbaiList: Ditch Imported Cheese For Local Produce From These Indian Cheese Makers

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Cheese in India generally means only one thing; the salty creamy slabs made by Amul, which Shiv Sagar generously grates onto everything from butter laden pau bhaji to Hawaiian pizzas. Now you snooty ones can turn up your noses at this fine fromage, but I have to say it’s one India’s finest culinary creations. And let’s face it, you all enjoyed it in hot toasted sandwiches when you were kids, until you went to some Italian joint and heard about parmesan.

Our refined palettes now crave the finer stuff, feta or gorgonzola for salads, ricotta and mascarpone for sweet crepes and tarts, and so on. You aren’t doing dinner parties right if you don’t at some point bring out a platter, complete with the blue stinky stuff and some gooey baked camembert. You could just head to Nature’s Basket or Food Hall, but that’s so passé. It’s all about locally sourced farm fresh produce these days, so choose from these Indian cheese makers instead;

The Spotted Cow Fromagerie (Made in Mumbai)

Brie from The Spotted Cow Fromagerie
Brie from The Spotted Cow Fromagerie

A pair of enterprising Mumbai raised brothers, Prateeksh and Agnay Mehra founded this fromagerie. This spotted cow doesn’t roam free on the lush countryside of Switzerland, but in lives like a true Mumbaikar in a basement in Dahisar! Locally sourced milk is used to make artisan cheese (handmade and free of preservatives, no less) in this small manufacturing unit. They make two types of cheese, Brie and Camembert (cleverly named ‘Bombrie’ and ‘Camembay’ as an ode to their birthplace): are both soft, creamy French cheeses. Both have an edible whitish-grey mouldy rind, which is eaten. Camembert tends to have a thicker rind and is slightly stronger tasting than Brie. Both are great for cooking as well as for a cheese platter. They will soon add to their product list; Robiola, a soft-ripened Italian cheese is next in line.

'Camembay' by the Spotted Cow Fromagerie
‘Camembay’ by the Spotted Cow Fromagerie

The Spotted Fromagerie is a recently launched venture and at the moment they only sell these two products. Their cheese costs Rs.300 per 100gms, and will be delivered home to you if you order more than 200gms. To place an order email [email protected].

The Cheese Collective (Made in Mumbai)

Chèvre log rolled in red chilli flakes, image courtesy The Cheese Collective
Chèvre log rolled in red chilli flakes, image courtesy The Cheese Collective

The Cheese Collective does make cheese, but they do much more with it. They bring together handmade and curated cheese from Indian and international cheese makers, and introduce them to people through cheese tasting sessions, culinary events and workshops. They have recurring associations with Silver Spoon Gourmet, Bombay Local and other experience providers, for such curated events.

Fresh Goat's Cheese from The Cheese Collective
Fresh Goat’s Cheese from The Cheese Collective

On the cheese making front, the Cheese Collective produces a few different varieties of chèvre, (goat’s cheese); either plain or then flavoured with herbs or dried fruit. This cheese is not aged, but is made to order and must be consumed fresh. Founder of the Cheese Collective, Mansi Jasani makes the cheese herself in her own home. Get in touch with her via her Facebook page or call 9820331841 to place an order. (Prices start at about Rs.275 for 150gms of cheese.)

The Cheese Collective, like the Spotted Cow, is currently a small-scale cheese making business based in Mumbai, but extensive expansion plans are in the pipeline!

Himalayan Cheese (Made in Kashmir, delivered to Mumbai)

Lush valley of Kashmir, image courtesy Himalayan Cheese
Lush valley of Kashmir, image courtesy Himalayan Cheese

A certain Dutchman, decided to combine all that the Himalayas have to offer, and his native Dutch cheese-making knowledge to give us Himalayan Cheese. This eco-friendly cheese brand uses locally sourced organic cow and buffalo milk from the valley of Kashmir to make gouda, cheddar and kalari Cheese. They follow fair trade practices which ensure local farmers get their due and contribute to local industries creating employment. Gouda and cheddar are sold in individual cheese wheels. They have several flavoured gouda variants, including nettle, black pepper and walnut among others. Their third product, Kalari cheese is a local delicacy made by the Gujjar community. It’s something like mozarella, which is flavoured with herbs and made into a flat pancake. At the moment Himalayan Cheese doesn’t retail anywhere in Mumbai, but you can order all their cheese online. Visit their website or email [email protected] to order.

Le Ferme Cheese – Natural Handmade Cheese (Made in Auroville, delivered to Mumbai)

Lofabu with Jeera from Auroville
Lofabu with Jeera from Auroville

Auroville is the birthplace of many innovative and interesting projects, one of which is Le Ferme Cheese, which has been around for much longer that you’d expect. They first began making cheese in this South Indian commune in 1988! European cheese making methods have been adapted to suit the local climate. All the milk (cow’s only) used to make this cheese comes from their own farm, or is sourced from surrounding villages. The cheese making unit is quite eco-friendly; natural biogas is fuels the pasteurization, water pumps run on energy from windmills and waste water is recycled. Over 25 trained professionals, including cheese makers from Italy and Holland work on creating a fine product, which is completely free of artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or emulsifiers.

Grated Parmesan from Le Ferme
Grated Parmesan from Le Ferme

They make a variety of aged cheeses like cheddar, gorgonzola, blue cheese, parmesan, lofabu and gruyere. Their fresh cheeses; mozzarella, feta and ricotta are produced and shipped within just a couple of days! You can buy this farm fresh cheese from the i2cook organic store and it will delivered straight from Auroville to your doorstep. Samsara Wellness also distributes and retails cheese from Le Ferme to cheese lovers in Mumbai.

I’m definitely not recommending completely ditching good ol’ Amul cheese, but these fancier hand-made locally-produced options are worth a try!

 

Post By Salonee Gadgil (86 Posts)

I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.

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Salonee Gadgil

Salonee Gadgil
I'll chat with my imaginary pet dog and perfect a handstand while the rest of you act like grown ups.
  • InsiyaM

    This is such a great piece Salonee. Thanks for the information. Cheers!