After many years of store-bought processed cheese and European holiday cheeses, the artisanal cheese revolution in India has truly taken off. From having a restricted cheese palette to experiencing the joys of gorgeous, mouth-watering cheeses, this cheesy revolution is here to stay, courtesy of many homegrown brands that produce local versions of Western cheeses along with some unique Indian cheeses. Think Indian Mozzarella, Himalayan Gruyere, Indian Camembert, Kalari, Jeera Lofabu, and more.
And to bless all our cheesy souls, we present you with a roundup of some of the distinctive Indian brands who are crafting delectable artisanal cheese with an innovative play between traditional cheese-making techniques, local spices and flavours, and sustainably-sourced milk. Well, try not to drool too much over your screens!
Nestled in the Kumaon Himalayas, Darima Farms has been fulfilling our cheesy needs since 2016. They make excellent wholesome cheeses that scream India through and through, like Himalayan Gouda, Himalayan Gruyere, Farmhouse Cheddar, and Zarai. And amidst the small batches of deliciousness, Zarai (spice-rub montasio) with its distinct walnut flavour along with a touch of local spices remain the star cheese of Darima Farms.
Yes, there’s a cheese cave right in the heart of Bangalore, courtesy Begum Victoria – a small-batch urban artisanal cheese brand by Chef Manu Chandra, Pooja Reddy, and Shruti Golchha. From the usual feta and parmesan to Fontina & Bel Paese and Havarti, Begum Victoria will make you taste and appreciate cheese as it must be with the help of its cave-aged, natural rind handcrafted cheeses. And well, keep a lookout for their assortment of delicious made-in-India cheeses that includes the popular choices (young cheddar, montasio, brie, and fontina) and flavoured variations (dill Havarti, chill infused feta, and saffron fresh cheese) because this cheesy goodness comes in limited quantities, but will surely make you swoon with its flavourful greatness.
Launched in 2017, Käse (German for cheese) is a Chennai-based artisanal cheese brand that offers delectable cheese crafted with traditional techniques adapted to suit the local environment. And while they have expanded across the nation in the past years, they remain true to their social vision of employing and training girls with disabilities and provide them with a sustained source of income. With their focus on creating preservative-free cheese with ethically-sourced A2 milk, natural culture, and microbial/vegetarian rennet, they have managed to craft a following for their range of fresh cheeses (ricotta, feta, crescenza, and halloumi) and speciality artisanal variations (moringa coated brie, smoked mozzarella with sun-dried tomatoes, chilli & rosemary & milagai podi coated cheddar). In addition to cheese production, they also offer cheese making kits for mozzarella, ricotta, feta, cream cheese, and sour cream cheese. And very recently, Fratelli Wines collaborated with them to produce Fratelli Cheese, a curation of vineyard-inspired handcrafted cheeses. This range includes three varieties – Gusto, Sunburst, and Cheddarg that bring the magic of vineyards and wine alive in the form of delicious, soul-satisfying cheese.
Started by Mausam Jotwani, Eleftheria is a small creamery based in Mumbai inspired by French, Italian, and Greek styles. They are all about unprocessed European cheeses made right at the homestead and well, hand-delivered to your houses. Among their many offerings, Buratta, Treccia di Mozzarella (hand-braided mozzarella), and Brunost remain the most popular cheese choices, besides their fresh and smooth Fromage Blanc.
The Spotted Cow Fromagerie
Founded by Prateeksh and Agnay Mehra, The Spotted Cow Fromagerie is a Mumbai-based creamery is known for its 100% vegetarian, preservative-free handmade artisanal cheeses. With a focus on freshness and flavour, they offer a range of soul-satisfying cheeses – be it Italian, French, or local cheeses. But what truly caught our heart is their Indian variation of Camembert, Brie, and Tomme de Savoie, which have been aptly named Camembay, Bombrie, and Tomme De Bombai to pay homage to the city. And since they are always experimenting with different flavour profiles, make sure to check out their speciality range that includes Black Truffle Brie, Za’atar Cheese, and Caramelized Hazelnut Cheese among other distinctive fresh cheeses.
Karishma is an engineer turned fashion stylist and writer who loves talking about trends as much as eating desserts. Gucci, Ranveer Singh, salted caramel ice-cream and lipsticks make up four chambers of her heart. Like Karishma’s story? Drop her a line in the comments section below.