By Laura Barnes
Cheddar, brie, parmesan... that's about it for a market lacking true maturity, says one local expert.
Cheese culture in the UAE is more 'mild cheddar' than 'mature stilton', with restaurants doing little to educate the market, according to local 'dairy technologist' Nunzio Rossi of Middle East Trading.
Most people opt for popular cheeses like brie or parmesan, according to Rossi, with local chefs apparently unaware of how to present or look after anything more adventurous. Italy, for example, has more than 1000 different cheeses, Rossi commented.
So just as well, then, that he has written a book in the hope of educating the local market.
"The handbook will have three different levels, explaining everything from milking the animals and how it's produced, to storing it and presenting it to diners," said Rossi.
"In the UAE cheese is very difficult to sell so you need to have some knowledge in order to be able to educate diners. If you are serving three or four pieces of cheese you have to make it attractive, because at the end of the day to most people it is just a couple of pieces of cheese," he added.
"Cheese is the last part of the meal, and the smell is reminiscent of the countryside, it is a true authentic taste. Imagine being at the top of a skyscraper and smelling fields and countryside, that is something diners will remember."