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Wednesday, December 9, 2009


 WORLD CHEESE BOOK (DK, 2009, 352 pages, ISBN 978-0-7566-5442-9, $25
US hard covers) has been edited by Juliet Harbutt (cheese expert since
opening Jeroboams Wine and Cheese Shop in 1984, now an industry
consultant-judge) with an international list of 20 contributors,
generally one per country or region. Thus, we have our very own Gurth
Pretty ( covering Canada. Hat being said, he
gives 24 cheeses, three per page, on p312 through p319. He tries for
regional representation, but still, most cheese are from Quebec – and
rightly so. There's even a generic "cheddar curds" from all over the
country. My Canadian fave is the black waxed ball of Dragon's Breath
Blue from Nova Scotia, which changes over time. And it is a ball, not a
cylinder as Gurth says. The book has 750 cheeses, photographed as you
would buy them AND in close-ups so you can see the cleanly sliced
version and check for colour, holes and texture of the paste. These
are, of course, the cheese to begin with. Most should be available at
the larger urban cheese store. Some can come via post from producers or
cheese shops. There is a basic primer on cheeses, well-illustrated over
two dozen pages. Then there is a country-by-country arrangement
beginning, of course, with France, plowing through the rest of Europe,
the Americas, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand (you'd think that
with all those sheep down there there'd be more ewe cheeses, but no).
For each cheese, there is a description, tasting notes on the paste and
rind, how best to enjoy it, its age, weight and shape, size, type of
milk (not broken down by time of day), classification, producers. A
first rate job.
Audience and level of use: cheese lovers, cheese clubs, hospitality
schools, libraries.
Some interesting or unusual recipes/facts: lots of menu suggestions for
accompaniments, with some wine notes, use in cooking, and cheeseboard
ideas and possibilities.
The downside to this book: I'd go up to 1,000 cheeses in the next
edition. Cheese is hot, and will remain so for awhile.
The upside to this book: I love those close-up pix of the pastes and
Quality/Price Rating: 95.

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