What are the different kinds of cheese? Here is a handy guide by chef Manu Chandra


Chef Manu Chandra charts out a cheese guide for Mumbai’s food lovers

Thanks to Instagram, food lovers in Mumbai knew what the fuss about Begum Victoria Cheese (BVC) was even before it launched in the city. A carefully curated cheese brand by Bengaluru-based fromagers Shruti Golchha, Pooja Reddy, and Manu Chandra, chef-partner, Toast & Tonic, BVC offers a host of different cheese made with A2 cow’s milk, which you can now try as part of a platter at Chandra’s BKC restaurant. Chandra explains the intricacies of different varieties, their origins and flavour profiles, for you to say cheese with a true grin.


For those who love creamy cheese, Fontina, a Northern Italian staple which is soft, mild (and slightly acidic as you get to the rind) is what you need to try. “It has a sharp flavour with nutty undertones,” explains chef Chandra. “It goes well with stone fruits such as peaches or plums, or a just drizzle of honey. It’s best eaten with toasted bread.”


This translates to “beautiful country” in Italian says Chandra. A semi-soft, rich, creamy cheese with a mild ‘milk’ aroma, it’s infused with a mild buttery flavour too. “With its well-rounded acidity that is not too sharp nor too mild. It has a pleasant aroma, is pale yellow in colour and light on the palate with hints of milky sweetness. It’s hard to spread but soft enough to slice; it’s usually wrapped in a rind,” Chandra explains. It also melts well so it can be eaten in a sandwich or even on a pizza as topping along with mozzarella. “It’s best eaten with figs, grapes and a selection of other fruits such as apple or pears. For some heat, it goes well with mustard and chillies, and is also a great accompaniment to fruity wines,” says Chandra.


This semi-soft cheese is pale yellow in colour and has a buttery, rich, creamy flavour. Depending on its aging, it can be mild to sharp in flavour and buttery. Chandra says, “Havarti is a table cheese which can be sliced or grilled and can be served with fruit and wine. Havarti is also available in different flavours such as mustard seeds, chives or green, and red jalapenos to give it a more complex taste. It can be served with a variety of fruit and wine. It melts beautifully and therefore lends itself to dishes such as bakes and gratins.”


Chandra feels that brie is one of the best-known cheeses of French origin. A table cheese, it has a soft, creamy, runny texture with a slight mushroom flavour. Brie offers a fruity, mild and nutty flavour, while the aroma is fairly pronounced and strong. “It is best eaten by itself or with a drizzle of honey, or fruits such as oranges, prunes and even beetroot. It’s a great accompaniment to cured meats and charcuterie, as well as an excellent dessert cheese. To enjoy brie completely, it must be served at room temperature,” he emphasises.


The Greek cheese and has a salty and tangy taste which is enhanced by the brine solution. Feta is usually matured for about two months and is sold in blocks or cubes submerged in the brine reveals Chandra. It’s white, has a nutty and strong aroma with a full-flavoured salty taste, and a creamy, crumbly texture. Chandra elaborates, “[It] can be used as a table cheese, as chunks in a salad or can be crumbled on pizzas. It can even be used in a pie and tastes delicious with olive oil, roasted red peppers, and nuts. The salty flavour of Feta pairs well with beer, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc.”


While Cheddar’s origin is the UK, several countries in the world make it today and Chandra says that it is perhaps the most widely purchased and eaten cheese in the world. A semi-hard cheese, it is close and firm in texture, with a mellow character. The cheese has a well-rounded sharpness and a balanced saltiness with a distinct nutty flavour. “It tends to melt in the mouth and lends itself well for grilling and cooking as well as being eaten off a cheeseboard. It’s best eaten with pineapple, it can be baked into croissants, and topped on scrambled egg,” reveals the chef.

The Begum Victoria Cheese Platter (₹750) paired with house-made accompaniments, seasonal fruit chutneys, crackers and nuts can be ordered at Toast & Tonic, BKC; 26534722.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 9:40:31 AM |

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