Welcome to the world of Bandal cheese – a true artisanal masterpiece that will tantalize your taste buds and transport you to a realm of exquisite flavors. Made from the finest goat’s milk, Bandal cheese is a traditional, homemade delight that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its rich history and handcrafted production process make it a truly unique and gourmet experience.
What sets Bandal cheese apart is its strong inherent terroir and the passion of the artisans who create it. Each disc of Bandal cheese is meticulously crafted with love and care, resulting in a cheese that is truly exceptional. Its crumbly texture coupled with its salty and smoky notes make it perfect for enhancing salads, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and curries.
Experience the essence of Bengali culinary tradition and indulge in the organic and award-winning goodness of Bandal cheese. Discover why this cheese has gained popularity among connoisseurs and chefs worldwide. With its availability for purchase online, you can now have this gourmet delight delivered right to your doorstep, anywhere in the United States.
Don’t miss out on this extraordinary culinary experience. Shop now and savor the delights of Bandal cheese – a true masterpiece of the artisanal cheese world.
The History of Bandal Cheese
Bandal cheese has a rich history that dates back to the Portuguese colonizers in India. The cheese is named after Bandel, a town founded by the Portuguese in the Bengal province. They introduced cheese consumption to the local Bengalis, contributing the Bandel cheese to their culinary traditions.
The cheese-making process involves curdling cow’s milk with an acidic agent, straining the solids, and molding them into discs. The cheese is then coated with salt and smoked. Bandal cheese played a significant role in the development of Bengali cuisine and is the ancestor of popular Indian cottage cheese, paneer. It is considered a unique and cherished culinary treasure in the region.
Bandel Cheese Makers and Sellers
The production of Bandal cheese is currently carried out by the Ghosh family, who live in the Kotulpur block of the Bankura district in West Bengal. They are the only remaining artisans making this traditional cheese.
There are two shops in Kolkata, J. Johnson and S. Panja, that procure and sell Bandal cheese directly from the Ghosh family. These shops have established a close relationship with the cheesemakers and are the primary sources for obtaining this unique cheese.
The migration of the cheese artisans has made it challenging to trace the precise connection between the cheese and the town of Bandel. However, the efforts of modern-day entrepreneurs, like Saurav Gupta of The Whole Hog-Deli & Charcuterie, have made Bandal cheese more accessible to consumers. Gupta distributes the cheese through his online delivery store, connecting the Ghosh family’s cheese with cheese lovers in West Bengal and beyond.
|Kotulpur block, Bankura district, West Bengal
|The family is the only remaining artisans making Bandal cheese
How Chefs Use Bandel Cheese
Bandal cheese has gained popularity among chefs and connoisseurs for its unique flavor and texture. Chefs have discovered a myriad of culinary uses for this exquisite cheese, showcasing its versatility and enhancing their dishes with its distinctive qualities.
- Grated over Salads: The crumbly texture and bold flavor of Bandal cheese make it a great addition when grated over fresh salads. Its salty and smoky notes add depth and complexity to the dish, complementing the crispness of the greens.
- Filling in Sandwiches: When used as a filling in sandwiches, Bandal cheese brings a delightful burst of flavor. Whether paired with roasted vegetables, cured meats, or pickles, it adds a unique twist to the classic sandwich.
- Soaked Overnight: For those who prefer a milder taste, soaking Bandal cheese overnight can help reduce its saltiness. This allows you to savor the cheese on its own, appreciating its rich, smoky undertones without the overwhelming saltiness.
What Chefs Say
“The smoked Bandal cheese beautifully complements a glass of red wine, creating a delightful combination of flavors.” – British chef Shaun Kenworthy
“Bandal cheese is one of my favorite under-the-radar cheeses to work with. I love crumbling it onto scrambled eggs for a burst of smokiness and tanginess.” – Chef Vivek Singh
“I love using Bandel cheese as stuffing in chargrilled Bhavnagri chillies. It adds a creamy and tangy element to the dish, balancing the heat of the chillies.” – Chef Thomas Zacharias
Chef Thomas Zacharias uses Bandel cheese as stuffing to add a creamy and tangy element to chargrilled Bhavnagri chillies.
The culinary prowess of chefs extends beyond the borders of Kolkata, as Bandel cheese continues to find its way into dishes created by chefs around the world. Its distinct flavor profile and versatility make it a valuable ingredient in the culinary repertoire of chefs, adding a touch of Bengali tradition to their creations.
The Future of Bandal Cheese
The future of Bandal cheese holds great promise, thanks to ongoing research and development efforts at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Led by Dr. Debabrata Bera and his team, this research aims to enhance the hygiene and production methods of Bandal cheese, ensuring it meets the highest quality standards.
The primary goal is to elevate Bandal cheese to the status of a mainstream food product, with wider availability and increased consumption. In addition, the researchers are working towards obtaining a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Bandal cheese. This prestigious recognition will certify the cheese’s origin and protect it from counterfeit imitations.
The research project at Jadavpur University is not only focused on improving production techniques and quality control but also exploring the economic potential of Bandal cheese in both domestic and international markets. By understanding the market demand and identifying opportunities for growth, they aim to position Bandal cheese as a top-tier culinary delight.
Furthermore, the research team recognizes the importance of preserving the traditional artisanal methods associated with Bandal cheese production. They are committed to training the existing artisans and ensuring the continuity of this ancient culinary heritage.
Another aspect of the research project is the development of innovative by-products derived from Bandal cheese. These by-products will be explored for their potential medical and pharmaceutical applications, leveraging the unique properties of the cheese.
The dynamic collaboration between the researchers and entrepreneurs, like Saurav Gupta, showcases a shared commitment to preserving and promoting Bandal cheese’s rich history and culinary heritage. Through their combined efforts, Bandal cheese continues to evolve and secure its place as a gourmet delight enjoyed by cheese enthusiasts around the world.
Bandal cheese, renowned for its rich history and unique characteristics, has earned a special place in the hearts of cheese enthusiasts and chefs alike. Crafted using an artisanal production process, this culinary gem captivates with its distinctive flavor, making it a true gourmet delight. The cheese’s deep-rooted association with Bengali culinary traditions, coupled with its status as the precursor to popular Indian cottage cheese, adds to its allure.
With ongoing research and dedicated efforts to bring Bandal cheese into the mainstream, this centuries-old culinary tradition is poised for a promising future. Whether relished on its own, incorporated into various dishes, or paired with your favorite wine, Bandal cheese promises a taste experience like no other. Each bite is an opportunity to celebrate the culinary heritage of this cherished artisanal cheese, handcrafted with meticulous care.
Embrace the opportunity to savor the delights of Bandal cheese, and indulge in the organic goodness of a cheese that embodies the essence of tradition. Don’t miss out on this extraordinary culinary journey that continues to enchant connoisseurs and illuminate the world of gourmet delights. Experience the harmonious blend of flavors by adding Bandal cheese to your culinary repertoire. Shop now and elevate your taste experience to new heights.
What is Bandal cheese?
Bandal cheese is an artisanal cow’s milk cheese with a strong inherent terroir. It originated in Bandel, a town in West Bengal, India, established by Portuguese colonizers in the early 1500s. The cheese is made by curdling fresh cow’s milk with an acidic agent, straining the milk solids, kneading and molding them into discs. The cheese is then coated with salt and smoked in traditional rural ovens. It is known for its salty, smoky, and crumbly texture.
How is Bandal cheese used in Bengali cuisine?
Bandal cheese is used in various dishes in Bengali cuisine, such as salads, sandwiches, scrambled eggs, and curries. It can be grated over salads, used as a filling in sandwiches, or soaked overnight to reduce the saltiness and enjoyed on its own. In addition, it is used in chargrilled Bhavnagri chillies and as a garnish for potato and coconut milk-based curries.
Where can I buy Bandal cheese?
Bandal cheese is primarily available in two shops in Kolkata, J. Johnson and S. Panja, that procure and sell the cheese directly from the Ghosh family, the only remaining artisans making this traditional cheese. You can also purchase Bandal cheese online through Saurav Gupta’s online delivery store, The Whole Hog-Deli & Charcuterie.
How can I best enjoy Bandal cheese?
Bandal cheese can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be grated over salads, used as a filling in sandwiches, or soaked overnight to reduce the saltiness and enjoyed on its own. It can also be paired with red wine, according to British chef Shaun Kenworthy, and crumbled onto scrambled eggs, as recommended by chef Vivek Singh.
What is the future of Bandal cheese?
The future of Bandal cheese looks promising, with ongoing research at Jadavpur University in Kolkata. Dr. Debabrata Bera and his team are working on improving the hygiene and production methods of Bandal cheese and aiming to obtain a geographical indication (GI) tag for the cheese. This recognition would promote its uniqueness and protect it from imitation. The project also focuses on exploring the economic potential of Bandal cheese and developing by-products with medical and pharmaceutical values.