What better way to start your day than sampling cheeses from around the world?
Fifty luck early birds attended a cheese appreciation workshop on Friday as part of the HT Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’s Bertolli Food Festival co-powered by Chef’s Basket.
On the tasting table at Artist’s Centre was a delicious array of cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, feta and blue cheese.
The interactive session was conducted by physicist-turned-cheesemaker Aditya Raghavan, and it had participants riveted. Some took notes; others asked questions. One participant even wanted to know how much dairy produce a man can eat in a day, a question that drew hearty laughs.
Dr Raghavan started the workshop by explaining the science of cheese, and how fermentation is the key to cheese, chocolate and wine.
He also discussed some of the lesser-known cheeses that are native to India, like the Parsis’ topli nu paneer and West Bengal’s bandel.
“Bandel is a smoked, salty and hard cheese. Of late, chefs have started using it in their restaurants,” he said. “In Kashmir, semi-nomadic tribes make a roti shaped cheese called kalari, which has a stretchy and dense texture. Even the rasgulla is considered a kind of cheese!”
“I decided to attend this workshop because I love to cook. And I don’t like traditional recipes, so I’m always looking to innovate and learn more,” said Peddar Road homemaker Neelam Agarwal, 53. “I have been attending workshops at KGAF from morning to evening every day.”
Meanwhile, 19-year-old medical student Aastha Bijwe from Yavatmal timed her visit to Mumbai to coincide with KGAF. “I didn’t know much about cheese before today,” she said. “I’ve been trying a lot of new things over the past few days. I have also realised that blue cheese is not my thing,” she added, laughing.