Move over Gouda, ‘Konark’ is here

At a wine and cheese tasting event in Mumbai last month, cheesemonger Mansi Jasani laid out a variety of artisanal cheeses from India. “Konark”, a French-style semi-hard Tomme from Mumbai-based fromagerie Eleftheria, was a hot favourite. Its nutty flavour with a hint of umami called for second and third helpings.


As food evolves and people become more discerning, Indian cheesemakers are no longer simply making a Gouda or cheddar—they are trying to differentiate with the stamp of provenance. Konark, which was launched in July 2023, is one of the many European-style cheeses given a distinct Indian identity by Indian cheesemakers. The ring-shaped cheese wheel is reminiscent of the chariot wheel at the Konark temple in Odisha, from which it takes its name.

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A cheese is considered new under three conditions: when it is made using local milk, cultures and ingredients; it is created with a new technique; or the original recipe is changed by the introduction of a local ingredient. “This has been happening in the US for a while. Japan has started doing this recently, and now cheesemakers in India have caught on too,” says Jasani. In the niche world of Indian artisanal cheese, the definition of new is largely indicative of terroir.

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