For most Mumbaikars and Puneites including me, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are two hill stations that they have visited multiple times. So why then was I eagerly looking forward to visiting Panchgani again? The reason was the Pure Gold Cheese Factory- a recent cheese manufacturing and selling enterprise located in the courtyard of The Paradise Heritage. Here you can get to see how hard cheese is made from cows’ milk, matured in the ripening room and then making of cheese spread. I was delighted at having melt in the mouth hot cheese specially one which I had just seen been freshly prepared in front of me.
Currently, Pure Gold Cheese spread comes in 5 yummy varieties- garlic and herbs, smoked cheddar, plain cream, Indian summer and pepper jack. The beautifully balanced garlic and herbs cheese spread is prepared with dried garlic and a combination of herbs including basil. One taste of it and I knew exactly why it is the most popular cheese spread at Pure Gold. It is so delicious that it is bought by visitors almost as soon as it is placed on the selling counter. I have eaten smoked cheese in a hard block form but this was my first time sampling it as a cheese spread. This cheese at Pure Gold is smoked using the traditional way and then converted into spread. The smoky flavor was just right, neither too overpowering nor too subtle.
While plain cream cheese spread is prepared after maturing hard cheese and adding cream to it, Indian Summer is for those who like their cheese spread to have an Indian masala kick as it is made with chilli flakes and jeera. Pepper jack contains fresh ground black pepper and I couldn’t wait to savour it on hot toast for breakfast as soon as I got back to Pune. Mustafa Mala, whose brainchild is Pure Gold Cheese Spread adds, “We only use the milk of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. It is our way of not just encouraging sustainable tourism but ensuring that our guests take back a product made in Panchgani from local ingredients to get the true taste of Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar.”
What I liked is that the hard cheese is matured at Pure Gold for atleast 5-6 months before it is on the shelf, so you know that not only is it tasty but aged as well. Just as I was leaving, Mustafa mentioned that soon they would be introducing a strawberry cheese spread that would be a sweeter spread made using strawberries and cheese. Hearing that, I got another sweeter and delectable reason to head to Panchgani to be in cheese paradise again.
Mustafa Mala- 7875111952
You can find them of facebook here.