This book is one of the best I've ever seen on cheese, with one great exception to this praise.
The descriptions of the cheeses are imaginative in their groupings by characterizations of the cheeses ("rockstars", "wise guys", "pierced punks", "vixens" etc), and individual cheeses are likewise imaginatively described but in more literally descriptive and poetically evocative terms of flavors and aromas. I've never seen more descriptive language that lets you taste the cheese in your imagintion. The cheeses are grouped by their flavor profiles, rather than by country, or type of rind, e.g.
ONE glaring problem with the book, however, is that there are very few photographs.
The selection of cheeses is intriguing, centering on France, US, Italy & Spain with some zingers thrown in (Croatia, e.g.), each a specimen of outstanding artisanal craftsmanship. For each, there is a suggestion of wine, beer, ale or other pairings (e.g. bourbon), and the food for snacking with the cheese (smoked nuts, olives, etc. -- some of which are surprising).
Some recipes are suggested, which are appealing and offer something different from usual "cheese" dishes for entertaining. The book also offers recipes for crackers, olive spread (which they mistakenly call a tapenade -- because it has no capers!), condiments and similar accompaniments for cheese.
Various sections within the book offer tips on storage, tasting, selecting cheese plate combinations for entertaining, etc.
I highly recommend the book, and wish that their next edition will contain photos of each cheese, whole and cut. Right now, I guess I'll have to go online to seek out photos. I may or may not be successful on all accounts, because some of these are esoteric.
What the book made me want to do is: 1. go to a cheese shop with this book, and start tasting, 2. have a cheese-tasting party at my house. Oh! and 3. get up and eat a fig and goat cheese crostini at 3 am.
This would be a very nice gift for a cheese-loving friend.
PS Chowhound, please improve your cheese types tags.
by Jen Wheeler | Holiday baking season means lots of cookies, and we have plenty of great Christmas cookie recipes...
by Jen Wheeler | At Christmas time, there are cookies galore, but true dessert lovers still crave something more substantial...
by Mijon Zulu | Want some crack? I mean, crackle? People who have had it love it and it takes less than an hour to...
by Caitlin M. O'Shaughnessy | Since August 4 is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, we rounded up the very best chocolate chip cookie...