1. Kalari, KashmirA traditionally ripened Himalayan cheese indigenous to Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, kalari cheese is made of cow or goat milk. It has a stretchy and dense texture, with a mild mozzarella-like flavour.
Also called the milk chapatti or maish krej in Kashmiri, it is widely consumed as a street snack. They are sometimes salted and sautéed in their own fat on a hot griddle, flavoured with spices, and served with chopped vegetables.
2. Bandel cheese, BengalBandel cheese is produced by curdling milk with lemon juice or a similar acidic substance, separating the curd from the whey. After shaping and draining, it becomes a flat, crumbly cheese with a salty and smokey taste.
Enjoyed with sandwiches, salads, pasta, and various dishes, it’s the perfect indigenous alternative to the likes of the Greek feta. It has a high salt concentration lending the cheese its long shelf-life.
3. Chhurpi, India’s Himalayan regionChhurpi, the world’s hardest cheese, comes from the Himalayan areas of China and Nepal. It eventually reached India’s Darjeeling and Sikkim regions.
Made by pastoralists living in the Himalayan region, this cheese is made out of waste milk or buttermilk. It has a burnt-smokey taste and is extremely hard to chew. However, the more you chew on chhurpi, the softer, sweeter and creamier the cheese becomes.
4. Kalimpong cheese, West BengalMade in the small hill town Kalimpong in West Bengal, the cheese is slightly acidic and a little crumbly in the centre, with a slightly tangy taste but without a strong smell.
It was first made by the Swiss Jesuit Father Andre Butty at Kalimpong’s Swiss Welfare Dairy sometime in the 1950s.
5. Churu, SikkimChuru cheese, a staple in Sikkim, Nepal, and Bhutan, originated in Tibet and is known for its strong flavour. It’s crafted from the cream and skin that develops on the milk of yaks or goats.
“In Sikkim, it is commonly used in beef stews, while the popular Bhutanese curry, ema datshi, consists mostly of chillies and melted churu,” noted a report in Scroll.in.