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The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese Paperback


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Frequently Bought Together

The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese + Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love from a Year in Paris + Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste
Price for all three: $46.60

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307452069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307452061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

If anyone in America has a right to claim authority on the subject of cheese, author Lison does because she’s a born cheesehead, hailing from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Nevertheless, she herself took cheese pretty much for granted till she touched down in France for the first time. Her travels there took her from one French province to another and to all manner of farms and cheese producers. She learned firsthand the allure of cow cheeses, sheep cheeses, and goat cheeses. She discovered the distinctions that make each of the literally hundreds of French cheeses unique, and, perhaps most important, she learned to judge a cheese’s moment of perfect ripeness. A lot of books have been published about the history, culture, and virtues of France’s cheeses, but this one celebrates the farmers, dairymen, and cheese makers who have established France’s cheeses as still the world’s standard. --Mark Knoblauch

Review

"A mouth-watering read."—New York Post

"An inquisitive romp across France...Rich in storytelling, the book journeys between the historic past and the delicious present in one of the world's most diverse cheese realms. Pick up a copy of The Whole Fromage, and get lost in it."—Culture Magazine 

"From ancient villages to the heights of the Alps, Lison tracks down traditional cheese makers while sampling the fruits of their labors and offering descriptions as full of passion and flavor as the cheeses themselves."—Bask Magazine 

“Kathe Lison proves she is a passionée de fromage with her delightful foray into the French countryside.  From the Loire Valley to the Alpine slopes, Lison’s journey is très amusant… [and] captures a passion of all things fromage.”—Rob Kaufelt, owner of Murray’s Cheese
 
"Kathe Lison is to French Cheese as Peter Mayle is to life in Provence.  The Whole Fromage reads like a novel- insightful with right amount of humility and humor."—Allison Hooper, owner of Vermont Creamery

“Marvelous. Chockfull of humor, story-telling, passion and adventure, Kathe Lison’s cheese journey through France reads more like a novel than a true story. Plus, it conveys such a 'you are there' feeling that by the time you finish you’ve managed to take an entire trip without leaving your living room.”—Laura Werlin, author of Laura Werlin's Cheese Essentials
 
"In my dreams, I get to do what Kathe Lison has done and tour France in search of cheese epiphanies. In the interim, I have her engaging book, The Whole Fromage, to remind me of the personal stories embedded in each wheel of great cheese." —Janet Fletcher, author of Cheese & Beer and Cheese & Wine

"France is a cheese-driven country, and this book gets right to its pungent, creamy heart." —Stephen Clarke, author of 1000 Years of Annoying the French

"Reading The Whole Fromage is like enjoying an illicit raw-milk Brie. Kathe Lison follows her nose across France to explore the country's wild obsession with cheese…If Joan Didion had fallen tastebuds over heels for French cheese, then she might have written this book." —Tenaya Darlington, author of Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese
 
"A thorough, inspired look at France from a devoted and curious cheese lover and writer."—Kirstin Jackson, author of It's Not You, It's Brie

"Kathe Lison's book expresses her loving familiarity with the wonderful and complex world of French cheese. It takes you from the fields where the animals graze, through the creamery, shops and right to your table. Prepare to devoir this book! And prepare to be hungry!" —Lucia Watson, owner of Lucia's Restaurant and co-author of Savoring the Seasons of the Northern Heartland

“Lison seamlessly conveys the experience of tasting the creamy, luscious [Camembert] and its many cousins. Part travelogue, part homage to fromage, Lison's book is informative and endearing and will appeal to foodies, Francophiles, and hungry readers.”—Publishers Weekly

“If anyone in America has a right to claim authority on the subject of cheese, author Lison does...A lot of books have been published about the history, culture, and virtues of France’s cheeses, but this one celebrates the farmers, dairymen, and cheese makers who have established France’s cheeses as still the world’s standard.”—Booklist

“Her curiosity piqued by the multitude of French cheeses, essayist and self-proclaimed cheesehead Lison chronicles her tasty culinary journey exploring the art and science of French cheese making...Whether Lison is ruminating on the short lactation cycle of sheep, the origins of rennet, or the grassy, lemony taste of a spring goat cheese, readers will have all their senses engaged.”—Kirkus

More About the Author

Kathe Lison is the author of The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese. A native of Wisconsin, "America's Dairyland," she has a long-reaching history with cheese. Her maternal grandfather kept and milked a herd of Holsteins on a 60-acre farm north of Green Bay, and her great, great-grandfather owned a diary. 

Beyond her Cheesehead lineage, she holds an M.A. in literature and an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. She is an award winning essayist whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals, received mention in Best American Essays and won An Emerging Artist Grant from the Utah Arts Council. A devoted wanderer, in addition to the time she has spent in France, she has lived or traveled extensively in locales such as China, Morocco and Vietnam.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
The book made me want to cheer.
Esther Schindler
Reading "The Whole Fromage: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese" by Kathe Lison was a true experience for those who love anything French.
Wilhelmina Gawdy
This book begins with two legends of the world of French cheeses.
Wine Teacher

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KO VINE VOICE on August 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I wanted this book as I have a huge love for cheese, cheese of all kinds. It eat cheese almost daily. While I thought this was very well written, I thought it would have been perfect if it had some pictures.

This book made me hungry. I learned a lot about cheese, even though I eat tons I know very little.

If you love cheese, even not as much as me, it's still a good read!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amateur curmudgeon VINE VOICE on July 27, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is not a French cheese catalog or guidebook, although there is some of that in it. This is an essay, a paean of all things cheese.
Why does any country need 258 kinds of cheese? In fact, the actual number of French cheeses is one of those mathematical unknowns and it ranges, depending on your source between 227, 350 or more than 650.

Kathe Lison did not set out to taste all of those cheeses. What she wrote is a chronicle of a love story. Of her love of French cheese and her search for truth, cheese truth.

And there is truth in cheese as we will see from perusing the pages of this neat book. There is also a great degree of hype and legend, but underneath it all, there is just milk, and bugs, and hard work.

I would write more but, after reading this book I have an irresistible craving for some Roquefort and I am going to do just that. Eat my Roquefort, and dream about cheese.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By - Kasia S. VINE VOICE on July 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really liked this book, it starts off with some very interesting history of cheese and cheese making. I tend to collect cheese books because I absolutely love cheese, but many times I have no clue what to pair it with considering the large selection one can find in most good stores these days. I guess simplicity is key but the book explains where the product comes from and what similar items you can eat and drink with it, especially what flavors are pronounced in whatever region it comes in. I've started cooking with Reblochon cheese so reading this book was helpful since French cooking is pretty much my favorite. So many cheese makers out there have their own recipes for use of their cheese, so its good to know what it was intended for and to use that exact type, as it might alter the taste of the item being cooked.

I suggest to read it from cover to end and not skip around since this has a novel format, I'm still going it through it myself, full descriptions are coming up :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joni Lee on August 1, 2013
Format: Paperback
Whether you are like me and had to look up the definition of fromage, by the way, that's french for cheese, or you know your cheese and delight in the marvel of this dairy based food, you will enjoy this story. As hard as it is to believe, Ms. Lison has created a novel about cheese. This native of Wisconsin whose great, great grandfather owned a dairy farm dives into the world of french cheese in this easy read. I was sucked into her journey into france, with all its wonderful and varied cheeses. Her descriptions made me long for a smooth and slightly bitter blue cheese, which happens to be one of my favorite. In the "The Whole Fromage," Lison goes way beyond the flavor or texture of cheese and dives into the farmers, dairymen and cheese makers that make up this industry. The reader is taken on a journey through France that features the authors skills in weaving a good story with a bit of humor to entertain, and in the end we learn why French cheese is so incredible.

I cannot fully express how enjoyable this book is, and only on a few other occasions have I learned about a specific topic with such ease and entertainment. Whether or not, you are a cheese lover (isn't everyone?) Ms. Lison will take you on a trip that invokes all of your senses and you'll be glad that you could spend the time traveling with her. What this book is not? An authoritative list of french cheeses. What could make this book better? Pictures.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sukhraj Beasla on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I didn't quite know what to expect from this book but I'm glad I gave it a shot. The subject material of cheese drew me in and kept me entertained throughout the book.

If you love cheese, have an interest in cheese, want to learn more about cheese - this is the book for you. The author does a great job of taking an ordinary household topic and turning it into more than what it is and making you love it even more. This memoir is a great journey into the world of cheese. It's beautifully told, funny, sarcastic, and witty. I could picture myself in the wild French countryside, milking cows, going on adventures, and tasting the various cheeses. The book left me wanting to go on my own adventure.

While it's rich with words, it would be vastly improved with some photos of the various cheeses. The descriptions were mouth-watering but a picture here and there would have greatly enhanced this book. The book also have a cheese index of places to check out and cheeses to try so if you're planning a trip, take this book along. Highly recommended for any cheese aficionado.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Mott VINE VOICE on September 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this book to review thinking that it would be readable and an interesting diversion into an aspect of food culture I know little about. I wasn't prepared for exactly how engrossing the material is...it is probably more readable than many of the cheeses mentioned would be edible for me.

The historic asides and details offered on the cheesemaking process were excellent in and of themselves, but I also found them compelling from a larger perspective. I read a lot of historical fiction and non-fiction set in France, England, and Germany at different periods in history. Now when I see cheese mentioned, I can think beyond the basics and appreciate any larger discussions of it.

Details about the steak-like cheese the monks in one area made were fascinating, because it helps clarify the importance of the product when compared to the standard American perception of cheese.

I would definitely recommend this volume for food, cheese, or general history enthusiasts.
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