Grilled cheese sandwiches, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, fondue or even the more easily-prepared (and best enjoyed greasy) mozzarella sticks - I always want more cheese, please. At Bangalore’s gourmet store, 10 Cuts of Cheese, this delicious dairy product takes its place as the pièce de résistance, with selected preserves and packaged foods starring as the trusty accompaniments. Started by Christopher Albuquerque in May this year, the shop looks unlike any glitzy grocery store you’ve previously wheeled a loaded cart around, but peel off the packaging and start browsing - 10 Cuts of Cheese is all heart.
When Christopher moved back to Koramangala after 20 years of working in Hong Kong and Singapore, he decided to finally chase his passion for food. While he tried a few different things, nothing clicked till he came up with the concept of a cheese, chocolate and crisps store (one of the nicest alliterations in my carb-heavy opinion) and went for it. As cheese-crazy as the rest of us, Christopher heroes local, artisanal cheese brands. Take, for instance, Himalayan Products that is based out of Jammu. In addition to producing premium quality Gouda in flavours like cumin, fenugreek and walnut, they make a relatively lesser-known variety called Kalari or round slices of cheese that, Christopher says, resemble flattened puris. Fried on both sides, this local cheese is best enjoyed with a sprinkle of salt, chilli powder and dipped in green chutney (check out how Kalari is prepared here and then wipe off the drool as it threatens to slide down your chin).
The creations of one of Bangalore’s best-known cheesemakers Vallombrosa are also available at 10 Cuts of Cheese. Gushing over the bocconcini and mozzarella produced by this collective of priests, Christopher says that he was thrilled to have Vallombrosa on board and their stringy, delicious mozzarella on the shelves of his new store. While Christopher sources the international brands from distributors, he insists that customers try a sliver of Tamil Nadu-based Caroselle’s edam and camembert that are at par with the European varieties.
The second leg of Christopher’s food dream is the packaged foods section. Olive oil, mustard, regional chocolates from Mysore and Pondicherry, honey and crisps are displayed neatly and, if you ask, he’s happy to walk you through palette-pleasing gourmet pairings like English Cheddar offset with 72% dark chocolate or French Brie with maple syrup and nuts. Gouda a bit longer? Christopher tells us about a collection of culinary books that also find place in his cheese store, written by both local and international authors. Having personally read all the books, the owner of 10 Cuts of Cheese hopes that the store will become a place for customers to share their love for food (and cheese) in addition to a one-stop-shop for hosts and hostesses throwing a fancy dinner party.
Make sure you keep an eye on 10 Cuts of Cheese’s Facebook page; Christopher hosts workshops and classes now and then (like the recently concluded ‘Cheese 101’ for aspiring turophiles) and shares all the information there.
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