What do you give as a stocking-filler to someone who loves cheese and wine? A book on cheeses, of course – especially one with a chapter on pairing wines with cheeses.
That’s why I was delighted when I came across Alex and Léo Guarneri’s A Year in Cheese. I knew Damon would love it.
Although the book isn’t solely about French cheeses, the brothers run the Androuet cheese shop in London’s Spitalfields, having moved to London from Paris. Their shop is the UK arm of an eight-strong network of fromageries in France.
Cheese, they argue, is seasonal. “It’s really just like fruit, vegetables and meat,” they say. “Every cheese has a time of year when it reaches its best.”
The bulk of the book is divided into the four seasons.
In spring, cheeses such as goats’ curd and Brillat-Savarin are at their freshest and most flavoursome. Summer is the top season for cheese, the brothers say, and this is when mozzarella and Fourme d’Ambert are best eaten.
Autumn is the time of semi-hard cheeses, including Tomme and Cheddar, while in winter, bolder cheeses such as Comté – Damon’s favourite – and Reblochon come into their own.
“In winter, bolder cheeses such as Comté – Damon’s favourite – and Reblochon come into their own”
Each chapter is packed with recipes to enjoy throughout the year. This could be a worthy successor to Edd Kimber’s Pâtisserie Made Simple, which I gave Damon last year and which he used every month. I can only hope so.
With our future plans involving a possible venture into cheese and wine professionally, a year in cheese may well turn out to be a lifetime…