Warning: The following is not for the waistline conscious
I don’t know about love but cheese can definitely make my heart melt. In fact, the cheesier the better!
Cheese has ruled over our palates for eons now, more often than not we find ourselves ordering cheese-burst pizzas or add some extra cheese to our pastas or burgers, we don’t stop there. We want cheese popcorn and cheese dip for our nachos too, oh! We now find them in our dosas and Maggi as well. A grilled sandwich without cheese is like a heart without a heartbeat. Cheese makes life creamier, I mean better.
The last thing cheese-lovers need is a health expert to ruin their obsession. So, here we are to boost your cravings and share the love because Cheese is not just food, it’s a variety show. The multitude of aromas, flavors, and textures found in cheeses throughout the world is more than we encounter with any other food.
But thanks to globalization, you don’t have to travel the world to get your hands on these tempting beauties; all you need to do is hop down to New Market and walk straight to J. Johnson, a cheese shop in Kolkata selling local cheese (Bandel and Kalimpong) for four generations alongside imported cheese such as Danish Blue Cheese and the Dutch Edam. Even some of your favourite restaurants get their cheese stock from this cheese shop in Kolkata.
Stacked in glass boxes, Bandel cheese is only available in new market at Rs.8 per piece. It is actually called bundle cheese because it comes in small bundles. Being a variant of cottage cheese, they can crumble but not melt. So you can’t use it for any cooking purpose but you can use it as a salad dressing or in sandwiches.
There are two versions of the Bandel cheese, one is the white version and one is the smoked version. Both the versions of the Bandel Cheese are well salted, which allows it to be stored for a long period of time without refrigeration. No other preservatives are used. Those planning to eat it raw must soak it in water overnight to get rid of the salt and soften the dehydrated cheese.
It used to be made in Bandel but now it comes from Murshidabad, where they have picked up the art and the style of making this cheese. No chemical (liquor) smoke is used during the making of the cheese, instead, they use a dung-cake oven to smoke the cheese in rural areas.
“People come and buy the Bandel cheese in bulk. The demand is really huge and ever increasing.” – said the young owner, Mukul.
The Kalimpong Cheddar is another interesting cheese that is exclusive to Kolkata’s new market. It is a strong, pure cheddar with a pungent smell. Since it melts easily, it is mainly used for baking and cooking purpose to give the food a good smell.
Amul, Britania, and Govardhan are among the commonly available at this cheese shop in Kolkata. Among the outsourced cheese from Italy and Denmark are parmesan, tofu, and mozzarella. Among the imported table cheese are Danish Gouda, Red Ball Edam cheese, Blue cheese, Swiss Emmental cheese and Red Lester Cheese from England, that gives a good texture, colour and flavour to the food.