Earlier this month we took you to Hawaii with This Is Paradise. Now we head to France to discover its rich cheese history in The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison. If you’ve never thought about how artisan cheese is made, you won’t have to wonder anymore. Lison takes her with us as she travels across France to learn about its beautiful, delicious, and stinky cheeses.
The French, sans doute, love their fromages. And there’s much to love: hundreds of gloriously pungent varieties—crumbly, creamy, buttery, even shot through with bottle-green mold. So many varieties, in fact, that the aspiring gourmand may wonder: How does one make sense of it all?
Kathe Lison sets out to learn what makes French cheese so remarkable—why France is the “Cheese Mother Ship,” in the words of one American expert. Her journey takes her to cheese caves tucked within the craggy volcanic rock of Auvergne, to a centuries-old monastery in the French Alps, and to the farmlands that keep cheesemaking traditions alive. She meets the dairy scientists, shepherds, and affineurs who make up the world of modern French cheese, and whose lifestyles and philosophies are as varied and flavorful as the delicacies they produce. Most delicious of all, she meets the cheeses themselves—from spruce-wrapped Mont d’Or, so gooey it’s best eaten with a spoon; to luminous Beaufort, redolent of Alpine grasses and wildflowers, a single round of which can weigh as much as a Saint Bernard; to Camembert, invented in Normandy but beloved and imitated across the world.
A little public service announcement about The Whole Fromage: buy some cheese before you read this book. I promise you will crave it for days after reading it. I just devoured a sizable hunk of mushroom brie the other night thanks to this book. Need some cheese tasting suggestions? Check out the cheese tasting guide that Lison put together.
Grab your copy The Whole Fromage and join us on August 22 as we talk cheese. We’ll bring the discussion, you bring the cheese?
Do you like cheese?