Why Chhurpi is the world's hardest cheese

High up in the highlands of the Eastern Himalayas, locals have been making the ‘rock-hard’, protein-rich smoky cheese from the milk of chauri for centuries

Imagine a cheese that becomes chewier the longer you gnaw at it and lasts for hours on end. Sounds like some far fetched fantasy doesn’t it? Except it exists. 

High up in the remote hills of the Himalayas villagers have been eating chhurpi for more than a 1,000 years. Traditionally created by pastoralists in the highlands of the Eastern Himalayas, chhurpi is a protein-rich cheese with a smoky flavour which, when cured properly, remains mould free and edible for up to 20 years. 

Often referred to as the world’s hardest cheese, chhurpi is made from the milk of chauri, a cross between a male yak and a female cow, deriving its ‘uniquely hard texture’ from the high-altitude climate and the harsh lifestyle of the Himalayas.

It’s an amazing story, as Neelima Vallangi discovers for the BBC.