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DescriptionFollowing the enormous success of her first book, The Cheese Room, Patricia Michelson now unlocks the door of her award-winning Marylebone Village store, La Fromagerie, to share her knowledge and explore the world of artisan cheese. She derives ongoing inspiration and fantastic produce from the many small independent cheese producers around the globe who supply her. For Patricia, these producers are unsung heroes - a source of great delight and a fount of knowledge. The book charts her cheese journey, explaining how one food source has inspired and supported a shop, a cafe and an international network of small producers, from the Savoie in France, home to raclette comtoise, via the British Devon countryside and Colston Bassett Stilton to the Lombardy hills of Italy and its celebrated taleggio valsassia. By taking the reader on a journey, both geographical and inspirational, Patricia shares her own sense of discovery in her fascinating stories about the wonderful artisan cheeses from around the world. Patricia's traveller's tales are followed by explanations of the personalities of her many favourite cheeses as well as over a hundred accompanying recipes. Patricia's enthusiasm for cheese and incredible knowledge are universally admired and hugely infectious - qualities that create a book of distinction and quality.
- Published: 25 May 2010
- Format: Hardback 288 pages
- ISBN 13: 9781906417338 ISBN 10: 1906417334
- Sales rank: 114,841
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Reviews for Cheese
- Top review
The Times, May, 2010
How lucky it is for cheese-lovers that Patricia Michelson isn't a better skier. It is nearly 20 years since she took a tumble on the mountain above MÃ?Â©ribel during a family skiing holiday, trudged down to the village and, tired and hungry, went into the cheese shop to buy a piece of Beaufort. It was a moment that changed her life. She loved the cheese so much she brought home a 40kg wheel of it, which she cut up and sold to friends from her garden shed. Next came a market stall in Camden Town before she opened up La Fromagerie, her first little treasure trove of a shop, in Highbury, attracting the attention of chefs across the capital keen to feature something new and exciting on their cheeseboards.
While Randolph Hodgson at Neal's Yard had blazed the trail, championing British and Irish artisan cheeses, Michelson cast her net wider, bringing in cheeses from small dairies in France and Italy and maturing them in the cellars below the shop, and expanding the range of goodies offered to include charcuterie, olive oils and chocolates.
"There is so much to see and explore," says Michelson. "People are always telling me about the gems they have tasted on holiday in some tiny village on top of a hill, by such-and-such a stream, and they want me to try to find it for them. Often I have to say, 'You were very lucky to taste it at all, because this guy only makes about two dozen cheeses to sell.' But thank God such cheeses are still being made, because Brussels bureaucracy has been a real burden for small dairies. Many have been taken over by bigger businesses, or are now just selling their milk to large co-operatives."
With that in mind, her new book, Cheese, subtitled The World's Best Artisan Cheeses, is a personal tribute to those small producers who continue to make their cheeses against all odds, and over the years have become like an extended family. "I have such respect for what they do," she says. "Often they have quite hard lives, and many of their sons and daughters would rather go off and work in the city than carry on the cheesemaking. The encouraging thing, though, is that many of those children are coming back after a few years, with the benefit of an education and business savvy behind them, which has to be the way forward if we are to keep these wonderful cheeses and rural communities going."
While Michelson sees her shop as an extension of herself, the book is very much an extension of the shop. "I love it when people come in with baskets of shopping and say, 'We are having this for dinner - what cheese should I put with it?'" Her book also includes simple recipes for using cheese in salads or in cooking. "They are really just ideas, because what is lovely about cheese is that it's perfect for experimenting," she says. "Even for a cheesecake, there are myriad different cheeses you could use. Cheese is a mood food: in winter you might want a comforting raclette or a fondue, while on a lovely spring day, a salad of buffalo mozzarella and good tomatoes is just magical." by mat archer