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Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best Hardcover – August 30, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1st edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400050340
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400050345
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 7.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #454,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Domestic production of quality artisanal cheeses is on the rise, and the recent opening of the Artisanal Cheese Center in New York has helped make these and traditional European farmstead cheeses even more widely available. McCalman takes credit for spearheading this American cheese revolution through his work at the New York restaurants Picholine and Artisanal. While his and Gibbons's first book, 2002's The Cheese Plate, was highly regarded by industry professionals as a practical guide to serving European-style cheese courses and selecting astute wine pairings, this new work aims to be what the Parker Guide is for wine—complete with a numeric rating scale—for would-be connoisseurs. It provides detailed notes on producers, taste and appearance, stages of ripeness and seasonal availability, as well as pairing suggestions on nearly twice as many unique and wonderful cheeses as the previous book. Unfortunately, the cheeses are arranged alphabetically rather than regionally, limiting the book's utility as a reference. Granted, Cheese does not profess to be comprehensive like Steve Jenkins's unrivaled Cheese Primer, but rather an elite selection, or cheese "Hall of Fame." In the end, it succeeds more as a beautiful glossy catalogue to the Artisanal Cheese Center than as an introductory text. (On sale Aug. 9)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“The best cheese lover’s guide . . . by the most passionate and knowledgeable cheese master in America.” —Eric Ripert, executive chef/co-owner, Le Bernardin

“This is a terrific guide to understanding the world's finest cheese.” —Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

“As a child in France, I watched my father savor a small piece of fine Roquefort every day. When I first met Max at Picholine restaurant, I recognized his great passion for cheese at once. He has combined this passion with a serious and extraordinary sense of the ceremony of cheese, and in doing so has taken cheese to another dimension for New York diners and now for his readers.” —Alain Sailhac, executive vice president and senior dean of studies, The French Culinary Institute

“This long-awaited book is a welcome addition to the cheese lover’s library. Filled with essential information, Cheese is a must have.” —Ihsan Gurdal, Formaggio Kitchen

“How truly delicious to have finally arrived at a time when the great pleasures of cheese are accessible to so many Americans. This enticing, refreshingly clear, and insightful book is a gem and a must-read for both the knowledge-thirsty amateur and the true connoisseur.” —Karen Waltuck, owner, and Adrian Murcia, fromager, Chanterelle restaurant

“This is definitely a book that anyone with a serious interest in cheese—both professionals and consumers—will want to own. Cheese has a wealth of helpful guidelines about how to buy, taste, and store cheese, as well as descriptions and background on the great cheeses of the world, some classics, some little known outside their own neighborhoods.” —Ari Weinzweig, author of Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating and co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses

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Customer Reviews

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For anyone looking to expand their cheese knowledge, I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous
"Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best" is an excellent reference, and the perfect complement to McCalman's "The Cheese Plate."
B. Canning
The material is well researched, the photographs are stunning, and the recommendations are top notch.
David B. Bennett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Garrett M. Mccord on June 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I love a good piece of stinky cheese. I enjoy taking it out of the fridge and letting its nasty old stank peel the paint off my walls, knockout my cat, and make the local children cry. It's how you know you gots yerself sum quality cheese right there.

Unfortuneatly, I must admit, my cheese knowledge is limited to about, oh, whatever I might have picked up from a cookbook or Food Network. Thank heavens for Max McCalman, may chiors sing his spoiled milk praises! For those who don't really know this guy, he is the man and fromager (cheese brainiac) who pretty much single handedly spearheaded the idea of presenting true artisinal cheeses, cheese courses, and giving cheese the kind of credit we give to wine here in America. He has become well known for his work in the New York restaurants Picholine and Artisinal, and luckilly for those of us not living shibby in New York, has gone out of his way to create a wonderful guide to the best of the best in his second book, Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best.

While McCalman's first book, The Cheese Plate, co-authored by David Gibbons, was a chic everyperson's guide to wine and cheese pairings, Cheese simply gives us 200 of the world's best cheeses. Listed in alphabetical order, each cheese is described beautifully and concisely noting where it is produced, how it is produced, how best to enjoy it, and the underlying flavors you should expect when experiencing it. I use the word experience, because after trying some of these selections, it really is the only appropriate word that the English language can offer me. McCalman also goes ahead to offer with each cheese a variety of different wines (red, white, and blush) and even some sparkling wines that should help you wow your party guests' palates.
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Chambolle VINE VOICE on May 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover
UPDATE -- I strongly urge those considering this book to take a look at McCalman's newest work, "Mastering Cheese." It is far more comprehensive and informative. It does not utilize the "100 point" rating scale that I found such an unnecessary distraction in this volume. In short, "Mastering Cheese" is truly McCalman's magnum opus and a book I recommend without any reservation. Granted, this "Connoisseur's Guide" is an attractive book in some ways. For cheese lovers, its close up color photos of the featured cheeses will verge on soft core dairy porn.

But if you are going to buy just one reference work on cheese, the "Connoisseur's Guide" would not be it. I urge you to look instead at McCalman's "Mastering Cheese" -- which is his masterwork.

The "Connoisseur's Guide" reviewed here is a useful, albeit somewhat limited reference guide, as it highlights only a handful of the many cheeses of the world -- McCalman's hand picked selection of "The World's Best." There is reasonably good introductory advice about cheese selection, caring for your cheese purchases, ideas for matching with wine and combining for a cheese plate.

However, where McCalman runs off the rails is his seemingly unnecessary and certainly inappropriate use of the dreaded "100 point rating scale." This is a silly exercise when applied to wine -- it is even more ludicrous when applied to cheese. On what basis is Laguiole a "91 point quality" cheese; Rogue River blue a 93 pointer; Humboldt Fog a 75 pointer; Pecorino Toscano 81 points; Soumaintrain an 80 pointer; Selles sur Cher an 89. To begin with, every one of these cheeses will vary wildly. A particular piece of Soumaintrain may be fabulous or fabulously boring -- and ditto any other cheese.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By P. M. Basta on September 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This newest addition to Mccalman's offerings is by far the best and most comprehensive, timely reference to the cheeses of the world. It is the new "bible" as far as I'm concerned. He elaborates and builds upon his first book in a way that is illuminating and interesting, and , if even a bit constrained with his list of great cheeses , manages to present his picks in an assessible way. His chapter on wine parings is the best I've read. Truly this is a must have for anyone that has a passion for spoiled milk of the world.
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44 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Jana L. Perskie HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Artisanal cheese is cheese that has been hand-crafted in small batches according to time-honored techniques, recipes, and traditions. Domestic production of quality artisanal cheeses is on the rise. With the recent opening of the Artisanal Cheese Center in New York, more folks have the opportunity to taste and buy local and European traditional farmstead cheeses - which is wonderful!!

Max McCalman and David Gibbons, who co-authored the widely acclaimed "The Cheese Plate," have just come out with the extraordinary "Cheese: A Connoisseur's Guide to the World's Best." McCalman is renowned as one of the world's experts in artisanal cheeses. Cheese is his passion and he has dedicated himself to helping others understand and enjoy its unique pleasures. Mr. McCalman, America's first restaurant-based Maître Fromager, is also a Garde et Jure as designated by France's exclusive Guilde des Fromagers - credentials which basically mean the man knows a lot about cheese, and experts, gourmands, trust him to make choices for them! Over the past decade he established the critically acclaimed cheese program at New York City's Picholine Restaurant. I have dined there on more than one occasion and their lavish cheese cart is a wonder. When I saw this beautiful cheese encyclopedia last week, I bought a copy for myself, and one for a dear friend who I know will treasure it. This is an extremely useful guide which makes a wonderful addition to any cheese lover's library.

Approximately 200 of the world's best cheeses are included here, with information on buying, storing, tasting, and serving. Detailed notes are provided on producers, taste and appearance, stages of ripeness and seasonal availability.
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