The Ooey Gooey Factor
SUMMER BRINGS INTO SEASON A VARIETY OF SOFT, CREAMY AND DELICIOUS CHEESE. BY SONALI ACHARJEE
Fluffy pillows of fresh buffalo mozzarella drizzled with balsamic vinegar and loaves of fresh bread dripping with hot smoked cheddar cheese appear every Wednesday afternoon on Megha Saikia’s dining table. This 34- year- old homemaker and her friends love cheese so much that they decided to start their own ‘ cheese club’ in Mumbai’s Borivili neighbourhood. The members throw a weekly lunch where everyone contributes one cheese dish to the table. “It might be fattening but there is so much pleasure in eating cheese. It’s a meal by itself and great to munch on while catching up with friends,” says Saikia.
Light, creamy and full of flavour, cheese is a versatile and delicious summer food. Be it juicy watermelon chunks paired with salty feta or creamy ricotta swirls served over sour berry compote –- there are some cheese and food combinations that just evoke the taste of summer, leaving Indian households hungry for more.
“Cheese not only works well as fitting accompaniments to summer food but they also taste really good in the summer months. As cattle feed on fresh pastures, the final cheese gets a boost of flavour and texture. In fact some goat and sheep cheese is made only in the summer months,” says Abu Ramchandani, owner of Cheese Farms in Pune. Ramchandani not only stocks a variety of imported cheeses but also makes several kinds of European cheese from scratch on his farm. He delivers his products to individuals and retail shops across the country. “Knowledge and demand of the once ‘ foreign’ cheeses like pecorino, camembert, brie and feta has really increased in India. My customers now order imported cheese for daily consumption,” adds Ramchandani.
Interestingly, a small portion of cheese each day is a healthy addition to your meal plan. Parmesan, half- fat cheddar, edam, cottage cheese, goat cheese and feta are fairly low in fat and high in calcium, sodium, zinc and vitamin D.
Whether it’s to satiate a late- night junk food craving or an early morning breakfast binge, the gooey texture and creamy taste of fresh cheese never fails to provide instant comfort.