Say Cheese” – and you smile. But as a foodie, do you know the names of the different types of cheese that you can use in your recipes to make it more delectable and cheesy? (no pun intended ðŸ˜Š) If you are the one who gets overwhelmed and perplexed when you enter the gourmet shop’s “cheese section” and just looks for Mozzarella and Cheddar cheese among all those artistically crafted cheese, then this article is for you because learning about cheese and knowing about its origin, understanding its taste and texture and how to use cheese can be a subject of national interest. It’s time that you dig into this matter and increase your cheese knowledge base and understand it beyond the banalities of cottage cheese and Mozzarella.
Team Plattershare, brings a beautiful story from the spectacular Kashmir valley in India where Himalayan cheese, an artisan cheese company started by a Dutchman, Chris Zandee, who is using his traditional Dutch ways to make cheese in an eco-friendly manner.
The moment you hear about Kashmir, two conflicting thoughts come to mind – first “heaven on earth” and second – terrorism and unrest. Is doing a business and that too a fair and eco-friendly business which works towards the economic development of locals even possible? And the answer is a resounding YES, Himalayan Cheese Company is making it possible. They could have setup a people-centric business with an eco-friendly backbone anywhere in the world, but it happened to be Kashmir and it is the kind of business that the world needs all over.
Chris Zandee the founder of Himalayan Cheese, says that – “Unrest is growing everywhere when people have no jobs, are not respected, mindsets are derailed or when history has hurt them. It is not where we go or the place but who we are in the place that defines if we make a positive impact or not”. Caring for people first and starting and growing the business around them was the philosophy that the owners followed. Instead of succumbing to greed and quest for quick profits, the company took the long and hard, more responsible way, of running the business.
What are the popular types of cheese in India?
The type of cheese which is famous in a particular region completely depends on where in the world you may be asking the question as some are more famous in specific parts of the world than others.
But in India, it is:
- Paneer: soft, great for cooking and protein-rich with a short shelf-life and can’t be frozen. Eaten all over the world as cottage cheese
- Mozzarella: soft, great for cooking with a short shelf-life when not frozen. It’s stretchiness make it apt as a pizza topping and in pasta dishes.
- Cheddar: originating in England, it is semi hard and probably the most eaten cheese in the world. With taste ranging from sour (young) to sharp (aged), it is great in western dishes
- Gouda: From the Netherlands, it is semi-hard and slightly sweet. It is one of the most spiced/flavored cheese as the base taste is good for it. Great for cooking especially when aged with a woody and flavor-full taste.
- Camembert: From France, it is soft and great for raw eating. It is fairly delicate and one must be careful with the temperature when cooking.
- Cream cheese: soft, rich in fat and great for cooking; it has a limited life and a lovely flavor.
- Emmentaler: From Switzerland, it is semi-hard and full of holes. Full in flavor and melts nicely, in fact, it is one of the best cheese for melting.
How is cheese made? Can it be made at Home?
Cheese is essentially preserving milk and harvesting the unique character of different milk products, like cream or milk solids. Some can be easily done at home but different cheese needs varied and more intense processes. Although, cream cheese, butter, cream or paneer can very easily be prepared at home when you have access to good milk.
What are the specialty products of Himalayan Cheese?
- Gouda cheese: a traditional Dutch cheese that we make plain as well as 9 different spiced varieties.
- Cheddar cheese: a traditional English cheese. Our cheddar is a natural white variety.
- Kalari cheese: traditionally made by the Gujjar shepherds in the Himalayas, similar to mozzarella but very unique.
- Mozzarella cheese: famous for using on pizzas and other Italian dishes, we are just beginning to offer this variety.
Does aging of Cheese help improve taste along with adding health benefits?
That completely depends on your taste! Aging will change the taste as the flavor will get stronger and more mature as the cheese ages. For some, this does improve the taste if they want a sharper flavor, for others they prefer a younger age that is more mild and softer in flavor. I don’t believe there are health benefits to aging the cheese.
According to you, Which cheese products must have a place in every Kitchen?
Naturally, we would suggest our Gouda and Cheddar cheese varieties ðŸ˜Š. However, Gouda is a very mild flavored cheese that goes well with many dishes or can be enjoyed on its own. Cheddar is a popular cheese all over the world that offers a unique flavor. Cheese can be served in many ways depending on the ideas and creativity of those enjoying. The great thing about technology is that you can find many online recipes and ideas for great ways to serve and enjoy cheese.
Watch this video on “How to cook Kalari Cheese”:
Does cheese expire after 3-4 days of opening the pack?
Soft cheeses like mozzarella and mascarpone do require being consumed within 3-5 days from opening as they spoil faster. However, semi-hard and hard cheese such as Gouda and Cheddar can be kept for much longer after being opening when they are properly stored in a refrigerator.
Please share few tips to store cheese at home?
Keep cheese products at the recommended temperature as mentioned on the product label. For Gouda and Cheddar, this means in a refrigerator at 3-6 degrees Celsius. For Kalari, it needs to be kept in a freezer until ready to use.
Gouda and Cheddar: When taking the cheese out of the plastic packaging, handle the cheese primarily on the outside edges to help prevent mold growth. To store the remaining cheese, place the cheese in a plastic container and keep it dry with a very small gap (not air-tight) back in the fridge. In case of any local mold growth through exposure, simply remove the mold with a knife.
Kalari: After opening the package use a sharp knife to separate the required number of frozen Kalari pieces. The remaining pieces can be kept in a closed bag/container in the freezer. Remove the thin butter paper that is between each piece. Defrosted Kalari can be kept in a fridge for 3-5 days in a container.
That wraps up this informative interview with Himalayan Cheese. A truly inspiring company who is also at the forefront of innovation whilst supporting eco-friendly practices and local sustenance. If you have any other questions on cheese, do mention them in the comments section below and we will be glad to answer them. Do also share your recipes and knowledge of the different types of cheese with the Plattershare community.
On a lighter note – Why does a Camera man always mention the phrase “Say Cheese” while clicking a photo?
Because eating delicious cheese should always bring a smile to your face ðŸ˜Š
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