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The Cheese Course Hardcover – July 15, 2000

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Editorial Reviews Review

The popularity of restaurant cheese platters, offered after the main course and before dessert, leads many of us to consider a similar home presentation. But how to go about it? Part guide, part recipe book, Janet Fletcher's The Cheese Course offers a deft introduction to choosing and presenting cheese for mealtime enjoyment. The book doesn't pretend to be comprehensive; you won't find cheese-by-cheese descriptions, for example. But it does offer a sensible survey of the issues involved in choosing the best cheeses--domestic and foreign--for home entertaining. Beginning with a discussion of the cheese course itself, the book then explores cheese purchasing, platter composition, cheese accompaniments, and complementary drinks. This latter discussion, which offers pairings based on cheese age and type, is particularly well handled and offers interesting suggestions such as serving rich triple crèmes with sparkling wine or pungent cheeses with fruit brandy. After the sections on cheese etiquette and storage (Fletcher is against plastic wrap for all but the hardest cheeses), the book offers 40 recipes for cheese accompaniments, organized by milk type. These include Fresh Ricotta with Chestnut Honey, Chestnuts, and Pears, Marinated Pecorino with Orange Peel and Herbs, and Grape Focaccia with Homemade Goat Fromage Blanc. A concluding recipe section on themed cheese platters offers such delights as American Artisan Cheeses with Figs and Field Greens Salad. Illustrated with color photos throughout, the book is a small treasure of information and good taste, and should appeal to all who love cheese and want to share it with friends and family. --Arthur Boehm

About the Author

Janet Fletcher is a food writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, a frequent contributor to magazines on wine and food topics, and a past president of the San Francisco Professional Food Society. She is the author of a number of cookbooks, including Chronicle Books' Pasta Harvest.

Victoria Pearson is a Los Angeles based photographer. Her photographs have appeared in several books including Sangria (0-8118-4290-8), Party Appetizers (0-8118-4292-4), and The Cheese Course (0-8118-2541-8).

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (July 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811825418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811825412
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Janet Fletcher is the author or co-author of more than two dozen books on food and beverage. Her complimentary e-mail newsletter, Planet Cheese, is read by cheese enthusiasts internationally, and she is a member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. A longtime contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle, Janet has received three James Beard Awards and the IACP Bert Greene Award for her newspaper journalism. Her writing has also appeared in numerous national magazines, including Saveur, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Culture and Food & Wine. A resident of California's Napa Valley, where she maintains a large garden of perennials and edibles, Janet teaches cooking and cheese-appreciation classes around the country (

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on September 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a book carefully produced, the photographs and the introductions to the recipes add to the fun of using the recipes. The book begins with a personal introduction including information on buying and storing cheese, on the selection and presentation of cheeses on a cheese platter, instruments for cutting cheese etc. This introduction is followed by four chapters of recipes using cheese: cow's milk cheeses, goat's milk cheeses, sheep's milk cheeses, and mixed milk cheeses and cheese platters.
While the recipes are excellent, they are why I take exception to the title - many of the recipes are for the salad course. Other recipes are for breads or cookies to accompany the cheese course, some are for excellent marinades for soft cheeses, some for marinades fruits to accompany the cheeses - items like goat gouda with roasted hazelnuts and sherried figs with five alternative cheeses listed make this volume well worth owning.
This is not a book that will introduce you to a wide variety of cheeses, however, it will provide you with many excellent pairings of cheese and fruit, as well as many salads for which a cheese is a necessary ingredient.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Hilde Kaiser on August 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book, beautifully photographed and in the attractive format typical for Chronicle books, is a thoughtful, modern guide that will inspire you to serve cheese. The recipe for the classic party favorite, brie en croute (brie wrapped in pastry) may be missing, but maybe it doesn't even belong in a book that is guided by a love for artisanal cheeses from all over the world that would be smothered by such a preparation. I've tried two recipes from this book so far this summer, the marinated bocconcini (they're miniature balls of mozzarella marinated in oil, oregano, red pepper flakes, capers, parsley, and garlic) and the arugala salad with watermelon and feta, and both were wonderful and easy. If you've looked at your local cheeseshop's selection longingly, wondering how to confidently serve everything from goat cheese (such as the recipe on the cover), to an aged sheep's milk cheese, to trying something new with ricotta, then this is the book for you. It's a good starting point for learning about cheeses, or a good addition to a cook's library that already contains Steven Jenkin's encylopedic Cheese Primer.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Case of subtitle should have been title. "The Cheese Course" as other reviewers have pointed out does not adequately describe the contents. The subtitle: Enjoying the World's Best Cheeses at Your Table" does.

This is about utilizing cheese in more than macaroni casseroles or nachos et al. This is about nice pairings with salad, torta, galette, etc.

While there is nice section on storing and purchasing, I refer those wanting to know more about this and various cheeses consult two fine sources such as: "The Cheese Primer" and "The Cheese Plate." These will provide more thorough info on cheese shopping and more detail on world's fromage wealth.

This little book (just over 100 pages) provides a much different yet important reference, ways of utilizing cheese from cow's milk, goat's milk, sheep's milk, and mixed milk sources.

There are some great opportunities here for presenting new tastes, the likes of: Three French Cheeses with an Apple, Fennel and Walnut Salad; Cabecou with Honey and Walnuts; Aged Gouda with Apple Galette;

What's nice about these offerings is that with each she suggests where in the menu this recipe might be offered, what accompaniments would go well, plus options such as wine/beverage.

Nice format and color photos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GHB on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While I LOVE cheese, it's got a load of calories that make me limit my intake, so I'm not one who will serve cheese with every meal. However, my husband IS a vegetarian (I am not), so I regularly use cheese as a source of protein. We eat a lot of pasta, and Janet Fletcher is one of my favorite cooks. I have several of her cookbooks and use Pasta Harvest as my main meal resource. Many of her pasta recipes call for cheese.

Still, I LOVE the idea of cheese as an appetizer, dessert, accompaniment to wine, etc. I read through this book quickly, found several recipes I intend to try, but mostly, I came away with a different view of the meaning and use of cheese as a serving by itself. I like that idea. My children sometimes order cheese boards when we go out to dinner, and I always enjoy nibbling from them. Guess I'll have to save cheese for special occasions, though, since I just can't take the extra calories on a daily basis, although since reading this book, my husband and I did start adding cheese (and some excellent organic crackers we've found from Urban Ovens) as a supplement to our evening glass of wine. It's very satisfying, even if a little sinful.

I appreciate the tips for buying and storing fresh cheese, as well as suggested pairings . Lots of tantalizing ideas in this book. Can't wait to try some of them.
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