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Handmade

Indian artisanal cheesemakers are making a dent in the fast expanding market

In a small lane, by a kindergarten school in Bengaluru's Victoria Layout, the white bungalow has a garden fencing it. Pomelo, guavas, lemon, mango, and sapota trees are planted around a wooden patio table, in front of the building. At one corner is a greenhouse that grows rows of herbs and chillies.

You wouldn't smell the cheese unless you enter the bungalow this idyllic place is Begum Victoria's cheesemaking facility. Workers package wheels of cheese. Inside a temperature and humidity controlled room, called a cave in the world of cheese, larger wheels of hard cheese are left to mature.

The company started in 2018. The name is a play on Victoria Layout and the fact that it is founded by two women Shruti Golchha and Pooja Reddy. The third founder is a man, reputed food entrepreneur and chef Manu Chandra. He is a partner at Olive Bar and Kitchen Private Limited that runs popular bars and restaurants around the country, including Toast & Tonic, Monkey Bar and The Fatty Bao.

Begum Victoria started when the trio realised there was a dearth of good local cheese in India. One had access to good cheese in fancy and luxury restaurants but little beyond. Chandra's Toast & Tonic became their little laboratory to test the water. Here, along with crisp soft

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