Cheese! The savoury equivalent of chocolate. Yes, it offers similar emotions to so many people – craving, greed, joy of tasting and guilt. It’s one of the foods, along with chocolate, that weightwatchers least want to give up. We cook with it and eat it fresh – there are our traditional favourites but lots more that are just waiting for us to discover.
500 Cheeses is another in that classy little series from Apple Press. It’s amazing but true: there honestly are 500 cheeses mentioned in this chunky volume. There is an overview of cheese-making and advice on selecting, serving and storing. The cheese chapters start with fresh cheeses and finish, logically, with hard cheeses, and then some notes on the appellation system – labels of authenticity in the same way as champagne is marked as the real thing if it comes from that eponymous geographic area.
There is an interesting section on Cheeses in Wooden Boxes. This is part of the Washed Rind Cheeses chapter. There are 5 considered (each section has 5 cheeses making that 500 in total), including my favourite, Pont-l’Evèque that has a delightfully mild/sweet/rich flavour which develops with age. It has a “distinctive” and lingering aroma.
Indian Paneer is listed and we have all eaten that in vegetarian curries but this volume includes Chenna which is a Sub-continental cheese new to me. It’s found in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, and is a boiled buffalo’s milk cheese, found in the Cream Cheese section.
Each cheese listed has a place of origin, description and taste notes. This might not be the most detailed of cheese tomes but it’s one of the best directories. It’s the book that any cheese connoisseur will want to pack when going touring in Europe. Small enough to slip into a travel bag but with enough information for the wannabe-cheese expert to make informed choices, and to present a stunning and memorable cheeseboard.
500 Cheeses is enlightening and attractive. An ideal gift for lovers of good food and a worthy companion to 500 Red Wines, another in this notable series. Outstanding value for money at under £10.00.
Author: Roberta Muir
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018