A sunkissed November afternoon is good enough for any activity. And so, the prospect of ingesting a range of fancy cheese sounded ethereal. At the curtain-raiser of ABC Farms’ Cheese Festival, the farm offered specimens from its gamut of bounties — as an intimation of what’s in store for the city’s cheese aficionados. The actual event starts today.
The curtain-raiser, held at Arc Asia in ACF Farms complex, presented 15 from the 50-odd varieties of cheese that will be on offer at the festival. On tables, wearing spreads mimicking black and white bovine patterns, lay bricks and wheels of yellowness — some coated with spice, others containing herbs and in certain cases, raisins and berries.
The tour began with two coated varieties of Bourgogne, which according to our unofficial guide Diana Chinoy, was unarguably one of their bestselling varieties. The cheese is creamy and prepared from cow milk. Subtle to taste, the varieties come flavoured either with garlic and paprika, or garlic and pepper. Bourgogne, says Chinoy, pleases the Indian palette wholly.
Next up was a gorgeous ochre disk of the mild colby cheese, which is an American variant of cheddar. Chinoy tells us this variety — whose texture is like paneer — is often used in cooking. But then, “What is paneer?” asks Chinoy, going on to answer, “If you break it down, it is a kind of Indian cheese.” Despite the colby’s obvious yellow hue, it belongs to the family of orange cheese. The colour is induced by annatto seed colour.
Then came a cardboard brown brick, dotted with a darker brown throughout. This variety — the coffee cheese — was introduced two years ago, when the farm tried to come up with something new for its festival. Chinoy tells us it has been on their board ever since. Although one would usually not associate coffee with cheese, it is easy to like the coffee cheese. It is creamy and tastes, quite richly, of coffee. The darker brown bits embedded throughout the block of cheese are actually ground coffee beans.
Eventually the young give way to the old and matured: enter the emmental, a Swiss variety that is widely used in the preparation of fondue. Visually, the emmental is a type we are all familiar with. It is the kind with holes in it — the face of the cheese family on popular media. The taste is mildly nutty.
While the curtain-raiser featured popular