Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maitre Fromager

Max McCalman, Author, David Gibbons, Author
Max McCalman, Author, David Gibbons, Author Clarkson N Potter Publishers $40 (384p) ISBN 978-0-307-40648-4
Reviewed on: 11/16/2009
Release date: 11/01/2009
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Cheese experts McCalman and Gibbons already have two James Beard awards for previous fromage-focused tomes (Cheese, The Cheese Plate); this outstanding examination of the subject could nab them another. Regardless, it should be required reading for any cheese-lover. The duo start slowly and distantly, with Sumerians, Mesopotamians, and suggestions for the contemporary cheeses that recall the food's earliest versions. After explanations of the cheese making process and tips for detecting flavors and determining ripeness, the two roll up their sleeves and attack cheese in all forms and locales. Suggested tastings are frequent and varied, enabling readers to sample at their own pace as they familiarize themselves with different styles and regions. Even those in the business are sure to pick up a few pointers: tips on the art of preparing a cheese trolley, structuring a tasting, and sophisticated topics like the debate over pasteurized and raw milk. Sample menus give readers a painless introduction to the symphonic pairings of a single wine or beer as well as a multi-wine, multi-cheese event. McCalman and Gibbons prove anything but snobby, employing a down-to-earth, encouraging tone and an egalitarian approach to taste, encouraging readers to eat what they like, not necessarily hunt down ""the best.""
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