9 Cheese Farms You Didn’t Know Existed In India
Just like wine, cheese has found its way into the new world from Europe. Dairy farmers are moving away from traditional goods like curd, butter and ghee to produce special cheeses like Gouda, Brie and Camembert.
No longer do cheesaholics have to be disheartened by the expensive price tag on imported cheeses because local manufacturers are here to stay, and they produce some really fancy stuff that would go great on your cheese platter.
1. Acres Wild
Owned by film maker Mansoor Khan who is credited with scripting and making the iconic film Jo Jeeta Woh Sikander, Khan set up his 22-acre farm in Coonoor (Nilgiri Hills) to produce organic gourmet cheese with the goal of shaping an eco-friendly, holistic and self-sustaining lifestyle. The farm specializes in making handmade gourmet or artisan cheese. It uses no chemicals and makes 100% vegetarian cheeses from microbial coagulant. With a wide range of soft cheeses like Feta, Ricotta, and Halloumi to hard mold cheese, Acres Wild has around 20 kinds of cheeses to offer.
Acres Wild offers its guests a two-day hands on workshop on gourmet cheese making.
2. La Ferme
Produced in Auroville, Pondicherry, La Ferme combines Indian, Dutch and French techniques and know-how to produce almost ten varieties of cheese at a quantity of 100 kg daily. The firm gives utmost importance to hygienic standards which makes their products taste like authentic farm produced cheese. The farm uses windmills to pump water, so you can imagine how awesome it would be to visit. Lofabu and Jeera cheese are the most popular products.
3. Himalayan Artisan Cheese
Himalayan Cheese uses traditional Dutch techniques to produce cheese in the valley of Kashmir. The organisation practises fair trade by eliminating the middle men and dealing with cattle rearers directly. Using the best milk of the valley they produce Gouda, Cheddar and Kalari which is a traditional Kashmiri cheese that has to be shallow fried and flavoured before consumption.
4. Exito Gourmet
Specialising in Mozzarella di Bufala (mozzarella made from water buffalo milk), this Chandigarh-based Bocconcini (mozzarella balls) maker was founded by Giuseppe Mozzillo, a cheesemaker from southern Italy. While visiting India, he realised that the water buffalo here were the same breed as the ones in his hometown. With the help of his cheese maker friends and distributors in India he started producing mozzarella cheese under the brand name “Impero”.
5. ABC Farms
It all started in 1976, when Rohinton Aga, Adi Bathena and Eruch Chinoy came up with the idea of cheese making with just 14 cows to begin. Today, the company roughly produces 70 varieties of natural cheese – Pecorino goat cheese, alcohol cheese, Port Wine cheese, a vodka and cumin cheese, smoked ham cheese to name a few.
6. Cinnabar Farms
The farm not only produces cheese but offers a bed and breakfast for those interested in observing the daily cheese making process and learning how to make it. Located in Kodaikanal, it was started by K. Balakrishnan and his wife who learnt cheese making techniques from cheese makers on the west coast of the USA.
The farm specialises in making Cinnamano, a hard Italian style cheese, and Cinnableu, a creamy blue cheese very much like the English Stilton. Other specialties include the yellow cheese and a washed curd cheese, called the Cinnabar Colby.
7. Flanders Dairy
From Belgium to Bijwasan (outside Delhi), Sunil Bhu learnt different cheese making techniques around Europe before starting his own farm. Initially producing Gouda, he started making mozzarella as well to cater to the ever growing presence of pizzerias in the country. Kwark, Ricotta, Scamorza, Bocconcini, and Mascarpone are just some of the cheeses produced by this dairy which uses 4500 to 5000 liters of milk a day.
8. Kodai Cheese
Founded in 1973 and based out of Batlagundu in Tamil Nadu, Kodai focuses on producing cheese that is nutritionally beneficial. Today it produces several flavoured cheeses like chilly, basil, pepper and garlic.
9. The Spotted Cow Fromagerie
Started by two brothers who initially began experimenting with soft French cheeses in their humid Mumbai basement, the Spotted Cow Fromgerie produces artisan cheeses like Bombrie and Camembay that are local takes of their French originals, Brie and Camembert.