A sneak peek into chef Manu Chandra's newest venture — Begum Victoria, urban artisanal cheese
Chef Manu Chandra, the man behind Toast and Tonic, and Olive, recently launched a new venture — Begum Victoria, which offers artisanal cheese. While the name may have an air of mystery, the brand promises simple deliciousness. Joining the chef in the business are cheese lovers, Shruti Golchha and
Into the cave
Begum Victoria is housed in a quaint bungalow in a bylane of Victoria Layout and we paid a visit
on a hot Friday afternoon. All the cheese at this facility is made with responsibly-sourced A2 cow’s milk. And the rennet, traditionally made with the lining of cows’ stomach, is vegetarian. The facility almost resembles a science lab, and we are told that all the milk used is processed right here. The cheese cave, in the corner of the bungalow is where the magic happens. It is here that all the cheese wheels are aged. They are tested regularly to see how far along they have aged, by the sound they make when tapped and the aroma. While taking the tour, the chef explains how the challenge comes from maintaining the optimum temperature and humidity.
Raise a toast
Currently, the cheese is on the menu at Toast and Tonic as a platter and a select range is available for delivery. After our tour, we headed to the restaurant to sample the platter, which comprises Fontina, Havarti, Bel-paese and Brie. Diners can pair the cheese with the sides such s house made tomato and perilla seed chutney, roasted pineapple and rum jam, port wine mustard, guava jelly, fresh figs and smoked
honey. The platter also has three kinds of crackers — sourdough, rye and sesame seed and nuts. The Bel Paese is a cheese that is not easily available outside of Italy. Meaning “beautiful country”, we were impressed with its rich and creamy body and the mild flavour. The soft Fontina on the other hand,is slightly more acidic.
Next, we nibbled on the Havarti. The semisoft cheese melts beautifully and is ideal to cook with or be used as a spread. However, the Brie was our favourite. Super gooey with pungent notes, it paired excellently
with the smoked honey. Begum Victoria’s cheeses are a must-try for anyone who appreciates quality hand-crafted cheese.
Platter Rs. 595++. Cheeses start at Rs. 370. At Wood Street