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All You Need To Know About Gourmet Cheese

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - May 26, 2020 6 min read

The days of using a singular can of store-bought cheese for every cheesy dish you intend to prepare, are progressively becoming outmoded. The Indian population continues to warm up to more artisan varieties, paving the way for gourmet cheese to become the next big food trend in India. And frankly, we couldn't be more psyched. After all, when there exists a specific kind of cheese, perfect for each culinary experiment you wish to take on, why would you stick to the generic processed slices or tin? 

 

However, knowledge about the expansive world of cheese specialities, is still quite limited amongst Indians, with a familiarity of only a few names at best. The truth is, there is a lot more to gourmet cheese than we are let on to believe, and the umbrella term comprises of various nuances and types, that we are yet to be accustomed to. Which is where we come in! 

 

 

Gourmet cheese in India is increasingly becoming less expensive, and more accessible to the common Indian population. Which means, the procurement issues that we once grappled with, no longer serve as boundaries to getting those artisan cheeses into our kitchens. But before we go cheese hunting, here's all we need to know about gourmet or artisan cheese. 

 

First Off, What Is The Difference Between Gourmet & Store-Bought Cheese?

The cheese you buy from supermarkets is mass-produced in an industry, and made of natural cheese with additions like emulsifiers, preservatives, extra salt, saturated vegetable oils and artificial food colours, to name a few. Which means, the cheese in your store-bought can is only part natural cheese, while the rest of it comprises of artificial ingredients inserted to enhance the taste of the cheese. Gourmet or artisan cheese, on the other hand, only makes use of natural ingredients like high-quality milk, enzymes and natural colours, and the cheese is usually made by hand with more care and extra steps to ensure the finest taste. It does not contain unhealthy chemicals or preservatives and tends to have a more pronounced, distinct taste than the standard salty version your tastebuds experience in the case of store-bought cheese. 

 

Types Of Popular Gourmet Cheese

While the world of gourmet cheese is a lot bigger than you'd expect, there are certain types that are more popular than the others. Now, bear in mind that the same types of cheeses can fall under the category of processed, store-bought cheese as well. The key difference lies in the way it was made, and gourmet cheeses usually have more specificities associated with the flavour, such as the natural surroundings of where the cheese was made leaving an imprint on the taste. Broadly speaking, we have listed the 10 most popular types of cheese that you need to be familiar with before you venture down the gourmet way. 

 

1. Cheddar Cheese

This English cheese from the town by the same name, has a sharp, pungent and slightly Earthy taste. A nice gourmet Cheddar will be a well-aged hard cheese, with a very pronounced, sharp flavour. 

 

Best For 

Crackers, Tacos, Nachos, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Cabernet Sauvignon

gourmet-cheese-india_cheddar

Image Courtesy - The Splendid Table

 

2. Mozzarella Cheese

Arguably the most well-known mention on this list, this classic Italian cheese is famous due to its wide-spread usage on pizza. It comes with a soft, moist texture and boasts of a milky, yummy flavour that's easy on the tongue. 

 

Best For 

Pizza, Pasta, Caprese Salad

gourmet-cheese-india_mozzarella

Image Courtesy - Golden Age Cheese

 

3. Gouda Cheese

Originally hailing from a town by the same name in the Netherlands, the texture and taste of a gourmet Gouda cheese will depend on how long it's been aged. Younger Gouda cheese tends to be mild, soft with an almost sweet taste and texture, while the more aged ones are harder, stronger and darker with a nutty and buttery taste. 

 

Best For 

Mac and Cheese, Cheesy Soups, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Many Types Of Wine 

gourmet-cheese-india_gouda

Image Courtesy - The Dutchman's Cheese Farm

 

4. Brie Cheese

Brie is a soft, stinky cheese with an origin story going back to a region by the same name in France. It comes with an outer rind of white mould, with a creamy, gooey and delicious cheese inside. The rind has a bitter, crumbly texture and it is usually recommended that you let your Brie cheese sit out of the refrigerator for an hour, till its runny and creamy enough to be consumed. 

 

Best For 

Fruits, Crackers, Fruity Red Wines

gourmet-cheese-india_brie

Image Courtesy - Wikipedia

 

 

5. Parmigiano-Reggiano

If you've heard of Parmesan cheese, that one is usually the imitation of Parmigiano-Reggiano, referred to as the "King of Cheeses" by Italians. It's a hard, dry cheese made from skimmed cow's milk and comes with a rich, nutty and savoury taste, and a gritty texture. 

 

Best For 

Pasta, Soup, Risotto, Salads, Champagne, Crisp White Wine or Sparkling Wine

gourmet-cheese-india_Parmigiano-Reggiano

Image Courtesy - CNBC

 

6. Swiss Cheese

This is the American version of the original Swiss cheese named Emmental. Swiss cheese is a mild cheese with a relatively firm texture, and a light, sweet, and nutty taste. This variety is renowned for its appearance which comprises of a pale yellow colour, and large holes referred to as eyes of the cheese. 

 

Best For 

Sandwiches, Casserole Pastas, Pretzels, Fondues, Pinot Noir, Merlot 

gourmet-cheese-india_swiss

Image Courtesy - The Jakarta Post 

 

7. Feta Cheese

Made from sheep or goat milk in Greece, Feta is a crumbly cheese that has a distinctly tangy, rich and slightly salty flavour. The more aged your Feta cheese is, the greater is the crumbliness or peppery texture of the cheese. The ones made from Sheep's milk is more buttery in taste while the ones prepared with goat milk is harder in texture and milder in flavour. 

 

Best For 

Pizza, Sandwich, Stuffings, Mashed Potatoes, Sauvignon Blanc

gourmet-cheese-india_feta

Image Courtesy - Wikipedia 

 

8. Gruyere 

This cheese comes originally from Switzerland, and the taste of the cheese depends on how long it's been aged. The younger versions of Gruyere cheese are usually creamy and nutty, while the older ones have a more earthy, and complex taste and a slightly grainy texture with small cracks. 

 

Best For 

Fondues, Baked dishes, French Onion Soup, Pastas, Crispy White Wine

gourmet-cheese-india_gruyere

Image Courtesy - The Spruce Eats 

 

9. Monterey Jack 

This popular cheese hails from California, and comes with a buttery taste and a semi-soft texture. The taste is milder when the cheese is young, and the more it ages, the sharper the flavours and the drier the texture. 

 

Best For 

Substitute for Parmesan in Pasta, Crackers, Cheesy Sauces, Syrah, Merlot, Zinfandel

gourmet-cheese-india_monterey_jack

Image Courtesy - Wikipedia 

 

10. Grana Padano 

Originating in the Po river valley in Northern Italy, the first half of the name of this cheese literally translates to "grainy" in English. So naturally, it has a fine, grainy texture and an intensely sweet flavour. The more this cheese ages, the more savoury the taste tends to get, and the texture becomes more crumbly. 
 
 

Best For 

Pasta Grating, Cheese Board, Chianti Red Wine

gourmet-cheese-india_grana_padano

Image Courtesy - The Spruce Eats 

 

Gourmet Cheese In India 

The notion of artisan or gourmet cheese in India is on a steep incline, with several artisan cheesemakers located across the many nooks of the country. Some of the homegrown artisan cheeses you need to try are Himalayan Cheese, Kalimpong Cheese, Kase, Chhurpi, Bandel Cheese, Vallambrosa Cheese, and La Ferme Cheese. 


It ain't easy, being cheesy! 

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