When wifey told me that she wanted to stop over at a cheese making factory I pictured it as some great factory with lots of machinery and many employees working in it.
My imagination worked overtime and transported me to the world of Tom and Jerry my favorite cartoon movie series. I imagined those slices of cheese with huge holes in it and Tom chasing Jerry who was trying to get away with a huge piece. I pictured myself waving back at Jerry when he would look at me cheekily through one of those holes and wink. (Sigh!)
But all these were just my imagination.
The La Ferme Cheese factory at
was a simple little place. It is not far from Auroville Ashram and is run
by Mr Benny who was kind enough to show
us around, despite being held up for his lunch. Benny hails from Pondicherry and
stays with his family in Auroville. Netherlands
I was impressed by the simple sign board at the entrance. A slice of wood on which the name was painted in white paint. No fancy stuff.
Outside I saw these huge black structures, which was the Bio gas plant. He told us that the gas that was used in the kitchen were from these Bio gas plants.
As for the Tom & Jerry affair, he told us that they were the Swiss cheese with ‘eyes’ The larger the eyes, the more pronounced its flavour will be.
There are so many types of cheese, like the Provolone cheese, the Govda cheese, Farm cheese, Blue cheese, Cheddar cheese.
Among the hard cheese are the Parmesan, Gruyere, Romano.
All these sounded Greek to me, and talking about Greek, the Feta cheese is cheese actually from
It is made with a combination of Goat and sheep milk. Greece
(that is cheese with goat milk)
I was impressed by the way Benny kept his place neat and clean. He gave us a tour of the place which included sections where the milk was collected in huge containers ,the processing of cheese , testing of samples and the storage of the finished product was done.
He went to great details about the shelf life of each variety and gave us samples to taste.
carving out a slice for tasting
Though most of the cheese were made with cow’s milk, they also made goat cheese. Despite having their own cattle , the milk for the cheese was also sourced from the nearby farms , to meet the demands of their ever increasing clientele .
The cheese products are available to customers in the local markets and also in Auroville outlets. Though they do not sell the Cheese at La Farme, Benny was kind enough to make an exception for us ........ as my wife was so keen to buy the Parmesan cheese, that she kept persistently requesting him.
(some of the tools for cutting the hard cheese)
I saw these colourful soldiers all lined up on a shelf and was wondering what they were doing up there. When I picked up one to examine it, I realised that they were the number stamps used to mark the cheese.
While we were there , a prospective client dropped by to meet Benny to discuss an order that he wanted to place. This was my cue to move on as I could see that Benny was going to be even more late for his lunch.
He was happy that I was taking photos of his place. When I told him that I will be writing a blog on La Ferme Cheese, his eyes brightened up and said with a smile “do send me the link”
PS: After we send the link to Benny, this was his reply:
Hello Marie and Joe,
Sure I remember your visit, but what a nice surprise to see and read the article. Great pictures and a very nice story.
Thanks! This really more than makes up for a late lunch ;-) and looking at the pics I don't think I was so hungry anyway :-)