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'The Cheese Lover's Companion'

August 21, 2007 | 10:36 am

Cheeselover_6 Just published, "The Cheese Lover's Companion" is one of my new favorite books, from first entry (Abbaye de Belloc) to last (Ziegenkase -- that's German for "goat cheese"). In between are entries for hundreds of cheeses and cheesemaking terms interspersed with occasional quotes from food luminaries and literary figures ("Never commit yourself to a cheese without having first examined it." -- T.S. Eliot).

Each cheese entry includes origin, milk, type, appearance, texture and flavor, followed by plenty of additional information: Constant Bliss is made with evening milk, Cashel Blue is made with milk from Friesian cows, and Sottocenere is not only mixed with bits of black truffle but has an ash coating blended with cinnamon, cloves, coriander, fennel, licorice and nutmeg.    

There are tips for cooking with cheese at the beginning of the book. In the back, I love the glossary of cheese descriptors such as "grassy", "mushroomy" -- though I wish there were even more. Indexes are arranged by country of origin, milk type (cow, water buffalo, etc.) or cheese type (semisoft, blue, pasta filata, etc.). One of its best features is the pronuncations. If you don't know how to say Vacherin Fribourgeois, it's [vash-RAN free-boor-ZHWAH].

-- Betty Hallock

Photo courtesy of William Morrow