Cooking Books -> Cheese
The Cheese Plate
Salinger, Susan (Photographer)
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Thanks to increased exposure to the world's finest cheeses, Americans are finally learning to love and appreciate this versatile food. But how to enjoy cheese at home? Max McCalman, maître fromager at Manhattan's three-star Picholine
restaurant, provides real help. The Cheese Plate, written with David Gibbons, offers introduction to the world's cheese repertoires, cheese manufacturing and finishing methods, how to choose cheese and pair it with wine and other foods, and more--all of
which is sensibly and accessibly presented. Without attempting a comprehensive investigation, McCalman nonetheless touches all the necessary bases, providing just the right blend of fundamental and sophisticated counsel.
Beginning with chapters
that explore cheese creation--a fascinating partnership of animal, terroir (place of origin), and skills honed over the millennia--the book then provides succinct buying, storing, and serving advice. (Buying rule No. 1: cultivate a cheese monger.) Here
and throughout, McCalman offers a wealth of diverse investigations like the Seven Degrees of Ripeness (1, too young; 4, peak; 7, "fuggedaboudit") and Is Shrink-Wrapping Bad for Cheese? (yes, cheese must breath); he also provides informative asides on
cheese makers like Britain's famed Neal's Yard Dairy, plus cheese-plate blueprints for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A final section profiles McCalman's favorite cheeses, country by country. With color photos, a glossary, and list of resources, the book
is an exemplary place to begin or further a cheese-at-home education. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Max McCalman, maetre fromager at New York's Picholine and Artisanal restaurants, with writer David Gibbons, has prepared The Cheese
Plate as an introduction to world-class cheeses. McCalman offers a brief overview then points the way toward profiles of various producers, discussions of how the various cheeses are made, how to store, unwrap, serve, what's good and what's not, pairings
for tastings, tips and arcana. Susan Salinger's 55 full-color photographs enrich this presentation.
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If you've ever had genuine farmhouse Cheddar from England, or real Alsatian Munster, or aged
Parmigiano-Reggiano, you know that fine hand-crafted cheeses have absolutely nothing to do with the bland, shrink-wrapped, food-colored offerings that evoke school cafeterias. Artisanal cheeses-from luscious triple crèmes to the "boss" blues-are complex
and richly rewarding, very similar to fine wines. And these cheeses get even more rewarding if you know something about their subtleties, their attributes, and how to get the most out of them-like which wines go with which cheeses (and why), or how a
multiple-cheese tasting should progress, or what an appropriate portion size is, or which accompaniments work best, or why the Loire chèvres peak in autumn.
Max McCalman is one of the world's foremost experts on these matters. As the maître
fromager (or "cheese master") at the acclaimed restaurants Picholine and Artisanal in New York City, he spends his entire day, every day, dealing with cheese-ordering it, tasting it, studying it, serving it. And The Cheese Plate is the culmination of his
years of passion and study for this subject: the definitive work on how to enjoy the world's greatest cheeses (and what those cheeses are) at home.
The Cheese Plate begins with the fundamentals: history, what exactly cheese is, and how it's made.
Then Max moves onto the subject that has made him a star in the culinary world-the art of cheese tasting. To begin with, it's important to know how to buy, store, and serve cheeses, and then how to taste them (again, as with wines, the best results come
with a little finesse). Then you'll want to pair cheeses with other foods and beverages, especially wines, to bring out the best of both. And with all this expertise in hand, you'll want to construct cheese plates, from a quick lunch assortment to a full
after-dinner tasting extravaganza. Finally, you'll appreciate a rundown of the best cheeses in
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