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The Cheese Plate Hardcover – March 5, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; Second printing edition (March 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609604961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609604960
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Thanks to increased exposure to the world's finest cheeses, Americans are finally learning to love and appreciate this versatile food. But how to enjoy cheese at home? Max McCalman, maître fromager at Manhattan's three-star Picholine restaurant, provides real help. The Cheese Plate, written with David Gibbons, offers introduction to the world's cheese repertoires, cheese manufacturing and finishing methods, how to choose cheese and pair it with wine and other foods, and more--all of which is sensibly and accessibly presented. Without attempting a comprehensive investigation, McCalman nonetheless touches all the necessary bases, providing just the right blend of fundamental and sophisticated counsel.

Beginning with chapters that explore cheese creation--a fascinating partnership of animal, terroir (place of origin), and skills honed over the millennia--the book then provides succinct buying, storing, and serving advice. (Buying rule No. 1: cultivate a cheese monger.) Here and throughout, McCalman offers a wealth of diverse investigations like the Seven Degrees of Ripeness (1, too young; 4, peak; 7, "fuggedaboudit") and Is Shrink-Wrapping Bad for Cheese? (yes, cheese must breath); he also provides informative asides on cheese makers like Britain's famed Neal's Yard Dairy, plus cheese-plate blueprints for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. A final section profiles McCalman's favorite cheeses, country by country. With color photos, a glossary, and list of resources, the book is an exemplary place to begin or further a cheese-at-home education. --Arthur Boehm

From Publishers Weekly

Max McCalman, maetre fromager at New York's Picholine and Artisanal restaurants, with writer David Gibbons, has prepared The Cheese Plate as an introduction to world-class cheeses. McCalman offers a brief overview then points the way toward profiles of various producers, discussions of how the various cheeses are made, how to store, unwrap, serve, what's good and what's not, pairings for tastings, tips and arcana. Susan Salinger's 55 full-color photographs enrich this presentation.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

We love cheese and wanted to learn more about it.
RocKin40
Paired with the Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins, the cheese neophite will have all the information needed for enjoying the world cheeses.
Stephen O. Mcallister
The other nice factor is that it is written in such a matter-of-fact way that it is a pleasure to read.
tim smith

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By rodboomboom HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Masterpiece of a work on cheese. Eight sections guide one through about all there is to know about the subject from a maitre fromager, cheese master.
The sections begin with a history of the subject, then proceeding into a needful discussion of the difference between "artisanal" (handmade) versus "process" cheeses. Chapter Three breaksdown the steps in cheese making.
Chapter Four is a most profitable read, How to buy, store and serve various kinds of cheeses. Neat features here are "How Much? Per-Person Serving" Calculator and "How to Detach A Stuck Wrapper."
Section Five gets us where we want to grow, Tasting. It is remarkably similar to wine tasting, with descriptors such as color, modifiers, density, texture, flavor, and subjective elements.
Chapters Six and Seven are the meat of the book: Cheese Pairings and The Cheese Course. Here we learn to put all learned to use at the menu stage, be it appetizer, last course, or whole course itself. Here are practical suggestions with different settings and differing levels of expertise suggested.
Finally, a tour of the world of cheese, country by country with the author's assessment provided. What I really appreciate here is the addition of "Recommended Pairings" and "Similar Cheeses" .
This well done book will enhance anyone's delving into the world of fromage, with this expert guide moving us into new areas of exploration.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By tim smith on April 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
What I loved about this book is that it takes an in-depth approach to cheese as opposed to the encyclopedia method. From this book you will learn more about how cheese is made, the factors that the raw materials (milk) will effect the quality of the cheese, along with the rather difficult question of wine and cheese parings. The other nice factor is that it is written in such a matter-of-fact way that it is a pleasure to read.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen O. Mcallister on September 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book full of very useful information, like pairing wines with cheese and how to choose cheeses for a tasting party, and georgeous color photography. This is not a cheese finder, it's a book on how to enjoy cheese. Paired with the Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins, the cheese neophite will have all the information needed for enjoying the world cheeses.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
My husband and I liked this book very much. As a reviewer below notes, it is *loaded* with information. It is well written and fun to read.(It is also fairly sparsely illustrated, so the calling it a coffee table book - as one reviewer does - seems pretty far off the mark).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By alloicious66 on August 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In depth, in tune, and filled with expertise, guidance, and encouragement. This is a gem of a book, and fills me with some of the same enthusiasm about cheeses which the author displays.

The reading is approachable, even though each chapter is stuffed with intriguing cheese facts. I can't imagine there's a better all-around book on cheeses that's been written. Highly recommended.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By kiwanissandy VINE VOICE on January 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book covers a lot about cheese, it is certainly for the dedicated cheese connoisseur and not the amateur. There were 6 different assorted cheese tastings (similar to wine tastings). Each tasting had 6-7 different cheeses on each plate. Out of the 42 cheeses listed I could only find 4 of them. These were specialty cheeses that you'd have to actually purchase online or a cheese store. I live in the mid-west and we don't have such stores. I also wouldn't spend the money to, it was just too high brow for me.

The cheeses listed were Perail, Durrus, Isores, Taleggio, Cedar, Valencay, Coolea, Llangloffan, Monte Enebro, and Reblochon just to name a few. Perhaps see if you can find at your cheese store before purchasing this book. It wouldn't do you much good to have the book and then not be able to purchase the specific cheeses mentioned for all the tastings.

The author considers American cheddar an abomination and says the only real cheddar is Keen, Montgomery or Reade's.

HTH. The book itself has high gloss pages, good pictures, 232 pages. The print is brown text on white pages so some might have trouble reading it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Book Addict TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am a lover of cheese. I've dabbled in cheese making at home and have even taken a Cheese Certificate Course but still learned a lot from this book. I find it to be quite thorough and approachable and if it had been up to me I would have recommended this as one of the texts for the class.

The book includes sections on the history of cheese, the basics of cheese, the cheese making process, buying, storing, and serving cheeses, tasting, pairing cheeses, and constructing a cheese course. I found the first three sections to be interesting, but the most comparable to other books I have read like Cheese Primer and American Farmstead Cheese: The Complete Guide To Making and Selling Artisan Cheeses, but it's the chapters on serving, tasting, and pairing cheese where this book really shines. What I love about the book is that it's the perfect balance of theory and practical, hands on tips. The author also mentions that he only shares pairings that he himself has confirmed works which I appreciated. Overall the sections are tremendously educational and I felt that even someone like me who has done a lot of cheese tasting was still able to learn things and refine my knowledge. Basically, you'll find a lot of information here that is well written and researched and some of it that I haven't seen elsewhere.

The bottom line is that this is a fantastic book. If you're looking for specific pairing and cheese course suggestions you will find that here as well as a lot of principles, theories, and suggestions to help you craft plates and pairings on your own.
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