Until a few years ago, if you were looking to indulge in cheese at home, your best bet would be to opt for mozzarella or pick up imported varieties off supermarket shelves. Now, thanks to a burgeoning tribe of artisanal cheesemakers in Mumbai, you can relish pocket-friendly feta salad or a gouda baguette right at home.
And a must-try is the variety from Casa Del Cheese (Italian for house of cheese). The home-based creamery, established by Dhvani Desai in 2013, dishes out preservative and emulsifier-free vegetarian cheeses, made using cow's milk.
The creamery offers Organic Snowcake ('200 for 100 gms), Greek-style Feta ('350 for 200 gms), Organic Gouda ('250 for 100 gms) and Organic St Marcellin ('320 for 120 gms). Three of the varieties arrived at our office, neatly packed with strict instructions to keep them refrigerated.
We sampled them with lavash and breadsticks. Similar to French chevre (goat cheese), Organic Snowcake was a firm white disc topped with oregano and chilli flakes.
Rich and creamy, the flavourful cheese had a lovely texture and the herbs added to the taste. If you're planning a house party this season, serve the variety with grilled veggies or crackers, which will surely be a hit.
Next, we tore the wrapper off Organic St Marcellin. Covered with a white edible rind, the cheese had a soft, gooey interior. While the rind was tart, the creaminess and texture inside it was a delight and filled with bagfuls of flavour. It goes well with light breads.
The Greek-style Feta was floating in a pool of water in a plastic container (to keep it soft yet taut, we're guessing). Though not as soft as the restaurant variety, the crumbly and moist version scored due its light texture and salty-tangy taste. We're surely going to use this on our pizza.
Organic St Marcellin
What's more, the cheeses also make their way into bagels offered by Bagel Bar, started by Desai, which have made an appearance at various events across the city. We're keeping our ears to the ground for the next pop-up to crunch into their Loaded Mexican Bagel, that promises organic cream cheese with refried beans, salsa verde, corn and peppers.
Available on Yummade, ShopHop, All Things Organic, Couch Tomato (app)
Smell the flower
Established by 26-year-old Tanvi Maniar, who comes armed with a Diplôme de Pâtisserie from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and has been trained at the iconic Maison Dalloyau (famous for inventing L'Opera pastry), Fleur de Lys Patisserie (French: lily flower) offers French-style desserts. With a central kitchen in Mahim, the products are retailed online on TGFC and Stappu.
The menu includes cookies, blondies, brownies, éclairs, tarts, cheesecakes and teacakes too. From an assorted variety that we tried, our pick was Frasier ('120 for a pastry, '1,200 per kilo as cake), a French classic dessert that packed in a bunch of flavours.
It comprised spongy vanilla cake and layers of custard, topped with fresh strawberry. Another favourite was Mogador ('140 per slice, '1,400 per kilo as cake), a raspberry soaked cake with dark chocolate mousse and the tangy-sweet raspberry jam.
We ended on a sweet note with Neapolitan ('120 for a pastry, '1,200 per kilo as cake), a dessert in a glass.
Inspired by the eponymous ice-cream, the dessert consisted of layers of chocolate cake, vanilla and strawberry mousse along with chocolate ganache.
Neapolitan. Pics/Dhara Vora
Thankfully not overtly sweet, the chocolate-strawberry combination worked well among our taste-testers; the dessert will surely be on the menu for our next birthday bash.
Log on to www.fdlpatisserie.com