Cheese Plate
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Cheese Plate

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by David Gibbons, Max McCalman
     
 

If you’ve ever had genuine farmhouse Cheddar from England, or real Alsatian Munster, or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, you know that fine hand-crafted cheeses have absolutely nothing to do with the bland, shrink-wrapped, food-colored offerings that evoke school cafeterias. Artisanal cheeses—from luscious triple crèmes to the “boss”…  See more details below

Overview

If you’ve ever had genuine farmhouse Cheddar from England, or real Alsatian Munster, or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, you know that fine hand-crafted cheeses have absolutely nothing to do with the bland, shrink-wrapped, food-colored offerings that evoke school cafeterias. Artisanal cheeses—from luscious triple crèmes to the “boss” blues—are complex and richly rewarding, very similar to fine wines. And these cheeses get even more rewarding if you know something about their subtleties, their attributes, and how to get the most out of them—like which wines go with which cheeses (and why), or how a multiple-cheese tasting should progress, or what an appropriate portion size is, or which accompaniments work best, or why the Loire chèvres peak in autumn.

Max McCalman is one of the world’s foremost experts on these matters. As the maître fromager (or “cheese master”) at the acclaimed restaurants Picholine and Artisanal in New York City, he spends his entire day, every day, dealing with cheese—ordering it, tasting it, studying it, serving it. And The Cheese Plate is the culmination of his years of passion and study for this subject: the definitive work on how to enjoy the world’s greatest cheeses (and what those cheeses are) at home.

The Cheese Plate begins with the fundamentals: history, what exactly cheese is, and how it’s made. Then Max moves onto the subject that has made him a star in the culinary world—the art of cheese tasting. To begin with, it’s important to know how to buy, store, and serve cheeses, and then how to taste them (again, as with wines, the best results come with a little finesse). Then you’ll want to pair cheeses with other foods and beverages, especially wines, to bring out the best of both. And with all this expertise in hand, you’ll want to construct cheese plates, from a quick lunch assortment to a full after-dinner tasting extravaganza. Finally, you’ll appreciate a rundown of the best cheeses in the world—where they’re from, what they look and taste like, their perfect wine accompaniments—so that you can become a maître fromager in your own right.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This book takes cheese to the Max. McCalman makes the complex world of cheese seem manageable without sacrificing any of its mystique or wonder. Cheese lovers seeking a one-stop information source can stop looking.”—Alfred Portale, author of Gotham Bar & Grill Cookbook and Alfred Portale’s Twelve Seasons Cookbook

“I dare anyone to listen to the maître fromager, Max McCalman, talking about his cheese and not order something. He speaks so lovingly and with such knowledge that I long to taste each cheese that he describes. Personally, I’ve given up dessert at Picholine.” —Ruth Reichl

“The perfect read for the cheese lover from the most knowledgeable lactophile we know.” —Tim and Nina Zagat

“A masterpiece of information about cheese, its terroir, the manufacturing, and how to best enoy it; you will also find tips on wine pairing. Wonderful!”—Jean-Georges Vongerichten, author of Simple to Spectacular and Jean-Georges

The Cheese Plate is not just a peerless cheese book, it ranks as one of the most important food books ever written. . . . Sophisticated, articulate, a mother lode of information. This remarkable book is pornographic and should be wrapped in brown paper.” —Steve Jenkins, author of Cheese Primer

“Max McCalman makes me want to eat cheese every day. His detailed but easy-to-follow suggestions for assembling a cheese plate are inspired. The Cheese Plate is witty, opinionated, and entertaining.”
—Jack Bishop, author of Pasta e Verdura and Vegetables Every Day

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. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Originally hired as the ma tre d' of New York City's three-star Picholine restaurant, McCalman gradually became the full-time "ma tre fromageur" when the cheese course became a popular draw on its own. Since then, chef/owner Terrance Brennan has opened another restaurant, Artisanal, with a menu centered on cheese, and McCalman oversees that as well. His new book makes it easy to see why his fellow employees sometime refer to him as "Mad Max." However, McCalman knows he is obsessed, and he doesn't take himself overly seriously but he does provide an amazing amount of information on his specialty. The Cheese Plate isn't a cheese guide per se, although it concludes with a glossary to the author's favorites from around the world; rather, it's a comprehensive, wide-ranging exploration of the topic, from the history of cheese to production to buying and storing, with separate chapters on tasting, cheese pairings, and, of course, suggested cheese plates for any occasion. Steve Jenkins's Cheese Bible provides more information on individual cheeses, but McCalman's unique book is recommended for most collections. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609604960
Publisher:
Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 10.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

APPETIZERS
from The Cheese Plate

All-Italian Cheese Plate

Hardly anybody is surprised at the glory of French cheeses, but they will be delighted to discover that Italy its own masterpieces. Serve a plate like this to culminate a full-fledged authentic Italian feast.

1. MONTASIO: Fairly mild and somewhat firm in texture with a lingering gentle, sweet finish. It is a fitting prelude to the Taleggio.

2. TALEGGIO: A washed-rind cheese that will offer intriguing aromas and somewhat forceful flavors than the Montasio.

3. PECORINO TOSCANO: A well-aged Pecorino di Pienza, at 6 to 9 months, will close out the Taleggio and lead in to the next cheese.

4. FONTINA D’AOSTA: Should offer a distinct, tangy sweetness of fermented milk while holding onto some of its lactic sweetness.

5. PARMIGIANO-REGGIANO: A glorious center-cut chunk of mid-Summer Parmesan (I like mine about 2 _ years old) might convince you to call it quits, but there’s another great Italian waiting to be heard from…

GORGONZOLA: A good creamy Gorgonzola Naturale with a bit of a bite is the perfect clser, providing the Italian answer to France’s magnificent Roquefort finale.

Meet the Author

MAX McCALMAN, one of the foremost experts on cheese in the world, is the maître fromager at the restaurants Picholine and Artisanal, both in New York City. Max has taught at many venues, including the Culinary Institute of America, New York University, and Macy’s De Gustibus program. He lives in New York City.

DAVID GIBBONS, a freelance writer, is the co-author of Overstreet’s New Wine Guide: Celebrating the New Wave in Winemaking. He lives in New York City.

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