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The All American Cheese and Wine Book
reviewed by Dean Tudor
 (June 19, 2003)

The All American Cheese and Wine Book: Pairings, Profiles & Recipes (Stewart, Tabori & Chang,; distr. by Canada Manda Group, 2003, 335 pages, ISBN 1-58479-124-1, $60) is by Laura Werlin, a food writer specializing in cheese. She won an IACP award for her earlier "The New American Cheeses." This is her follow-up book.

I must declare a minor conflict of interest: my nephew is owner of Bingham Hill Cheese, one of the companies profiled (and on the jacket).

Werlin gives an overview of both cheese and wine in the USA. There are chapters on the seven basic cheese styles, how cheese is made, and what to look for in taste. There is also similar appropriate material for wines. Then the two come together in sections she has written on pairing cheese with wine, and vice versa – including good combination charts for the pairs. The same wine rules apply to cheese as with regular food, such as the fruitier-styled wines or dessert wines with cheese, milder cheeses with older reds, sparkling wines with blue or creamy or salty cheeses.

Material includes cow, sheep, and goat cheeses. There are discussions about issues, such as the controversies surrounding raw milk cheeses. The next part of the book is a series of profiles with fifty US cheesemakers and winemakers.

For wines, there are such well-known family-run businesses as the Finger Lakes' Anthony Road or Hunt Country, New Mexico's Gruet, and Washington State's Hedges. There are anecdotes about how they got started, what they sell, and awards. As well there are names and addresses, phone numbers, information about being open for visits, and websites. The artisanal American Cheese Society has over 150 cheesemaker members, and most do a good business by mail order. Werlin has many more names and addresses in a separate section, along with accessible websites to check out.

The third part of the book, distributed throughout each chapter, is a collection of 55 recipes, mostly of the "entertaining" variety, featuring appetizers, pizzas, picnics, desserts, and cheese platters. Some of the recipes were developed from the cheesemakers, and there are also wine recommendations for each recipe.

Unfortunately for us in Canada, many of the wines and cheeses mentioned are not imported here...

What I don't like about this book: there is a lot of leading and white space – the book could have been smaller, and hence cheaper...
What I do like about this book: there is a nifty glossary of terms, and the listings include hundreds of cheese and winemakers.
QPR Rating: 94 in USA; 87 in Canada.

 

 

 

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