Nibbling on a square of cheese is one of the finest pleasures in the world. But being able to tell between its numerous varieties? Not so much. To amplify our cheese quotient and learn how to stock and serve it correctly, we headed to RRO Cheese Bar — a tiny kiosk at Gourmet West, Westside. Under the tutelage of entrepreneur Roohi Jaikishan, the Kala Ghoda-based chain recently launched a few new varieties of gourmet cheeses from around the world.
Read on to know about our top six favourites and jot down lessons on what to do with them.
Triple creme brie
This one is the Nigella Lawson of cheeses. Chubby, fair and insistently indulgent. Biting on this French cheese is like eating solidified cream. The slab has a dense look but melts after hitting the roof of your mouth. Heavily milky with a silky mouth-feel, this cheese has no aftertaste.
Usage: Grill or eat it uncooked. Works well with walnuts, caramelized onions, honey and maple syrup.
Pecorino red pepper
Pecorino is made with sheep’s milk and does not have creamy overtones like dairy made with cow’s milk. The square is sparingly flavoured with red pepper flakes that take over the innate sourness of cheese and give it a spicy zing. This cheese has a firm bite and hails from Italy.
Usage: Spice up a dish without adding any extra spices. Pairs perfectly with rocket leaves, pear and cherry tomatoes.
The way to treat stilton is this. Take home a wedge, tear-open its wrapper, roughly chop it into chunks and devour it with bear fingers. When eaten plainly, this English cheese is equivalent of a gourmet dessert and comes in mango-ginger, cranberry and apricot flavours. The fruity cheese has a grainy texture and is not overpowering like its blue cousin.
Usage: Stuff it in Mexican hot peppers and serve it as an appetizer or flash-fry after filling it in samosa wrappers.
An off-white cheese with a delicate and earthy taste is provolone. This cheese is strikingly similar to mozzarella and comes covered in a waxy yellow coating. It has a stiff bite and cut and an overpowering sweet and smoky aftertaste.
Usage: Sprinkle it on pizza or use it to make fondue
Unless you are a cheese snob, getting used to chevre’s sour taste is going to take a while.
This French cheese is made using goat’s milk and has a sharp sour taste. Since French consider wood ash to be a delicacy, the roll comes sprinkled with black powder that gives it an aged look but fails to overpower its natural tartness.
Usage: Break and sprinkle on pastas and salads. Works best with ingredients such as honey, apricots, figs, yogurt and pistachio.
If you want to know what pure cheese tastes like, then buy cheddar. The semi-hard cheese has a complex-nutty flavour and is deep orange in colour. It hails from a village in England and looks closely like the cheese we grew up watching in Tom and Jerry cartoon films.
Usage: Stuff it in sandwiches or paninis. Works best with bread.
>> Stock each variety of cheese in separate boxes to prevent them from picking other flavours from the fridge
>> Be cautious with strong-smelling cheeses such as gorgonzola and stilton
>> Do not freeze cheeses as this can alter their natural texture and flavour
>> Double wrap it in plastic foil or enfold it in butter paper to protect it from catching mould
>> Discard soft cheeses such as creme brie and camembert that have been at room
temperature for more than four hours
>> An ideal cheese board for 20 people should have 4-5 kinds of cheeses. Each block weighing 300 grams
>> Ensure that the cheeses belong to different textures (soft, semi-soft, hard), flavours (mild, strong), milk type (cow, goat) and origin
>> Always use a separate knife to serve each cheese. This prevents flavours from
>> Although you can eat the cheese with your fingers, never pick it directly from the board. Use a knife to transfer it to your plate