Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager
Max McCalman and David Gibbons
Max McCalman is the first North American restaurant-based Maître Fromager and a Garde et Juré as designated by France's Guilde des Fromagers. He is the Dean of Curriculum at Artisanal Premium Cheese Center in New York and has taught cheese for amateurs and developed classes for understanding and experiencing cheese. David Gibbons has collaborated with McCalman on several of his books. If you want to learn about cheese, this is your book. McCalman and Gibbons present a master class in cheese. The book in in three parts: Understanding Real cheese, Becoming a Connoisseur, and Great Artisan Cheeses of the world. McCalman and Gibbons start with the basics, like what is cheese, its history, cheese making, the flavors of cheese, how to taste, describe, assess and judge great cheese, different species of animals and their impact on cheese and raw milk and real cheese. In the book's second part, the authors step it up a notch with visits to an artisanal cheese maker, lessons on how to buy cheese, cheese in restaurants, how to do a cheese tasting, cheese and wine and cheese and beer. The third part covers the Great Cheeses of the world and it is a road map to happy cheese eating. Throughout the book the authors recommend cheeses that will help understand the lesson of the particular section. It will enrichen your experience of the book if you jot these cheeses down when you come upon them and rush off to your local cheese shop to see how many you can find. The lists will help the cheese shop staff find your cheese when you butcher the name. The book is beautifully illustrated, engaging and well written. It is a true classic and an essential resource to the world of cheese. I find myself rereading it every couple of years and return to it often.
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