cover image Tasting Club: Gathering Together to Share and Savor Your Favorite Tastes

Tasting Club: Gathering Together to Share and Savor Your Favorite Tastes

Dina Cheney, . . DK, $22 (255pp) ISBN 978-0-7566-2059-2

Gourmands and novices alike can cultivate their palates with this DIY guide to themed tasting parties. Seizing on a growing home entertaining trend, culinary educator Cheney offers 10 different plans for tasting, including the most popular items like wine, chocolate and cheese, to more obscure tasting subjects like honey, tea, balsamic vinegar and apples. In the Basics chapter, Cheney explains how to structure your party using the book and photocopied "tasting grids" that can be distributed to each guest for exploring and recording the experience. She recommends choosing six different variations for a tasting and explains how to set up a table to accommodate the foods as well as palate cleansers and complementary accompaniments. Each of the following chapters is devoted to a single subject, with important background information, such as how and where olive oil is made and how the product is graded in different countries. For every tasting, Cheney has included a menu and recipes for sophisticated, appropriate pairings (wines, radishes and a wild mushroom quiche for an evening French cheese tasting; antipasto platter, vin santo, red grapes and biscotti for a global extra virgin olive oil tasting). Throughout, Cheney proves to be an excellent guide, making her urbane subject matter accessible and her parties both fun and informative. (Sept.)