x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Camel cheese 'like feta, but richer'

The National's food critic tries camel cheese for the first time.

Two varieties of camel cheese were tasted by our reporter, Emily Shardlow. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Two varieties of camel cheese were tasted by our reporter, Emily Shardlow. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

The thought of camel milk cheese didn't initially fill me with excitement. But after trying two of the varieties produced by Camelicious, I'm more open to the idea.

Both cheeses were snow-white and tasted fresh. They were characterised by a pungent, slightly sour tang, which clung to the back of the throat after swallowing.

Camel milk is slightly saltier than cow milk. Because this cheese is made from pure milk solids, the salinity is all the more intense. It is also very rich. If you cooked with it or added it to a salad or sandwich, you'd only need a little to make an impact.

The first type I tried had a stretched, almost rubbery outer skin that looked like mozzarella. The centre was soft and fluffy, though, almost like a firm, more assertively flavoured cottage cheese. The second type was more solid with a briny taste and aroma. In looks and texture it was similar to feta, only much richer. Crumble or scatter it sparingly over a dish rather than eat it alone.

Whether the cheese takes the UAE by storm remains to be seen but don't dismiss it until you've tried it.

* Emily Shardlow