Book Reviews

Book review: Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins.


Artisan cheese in Canada enjoys an unprecedented popularity. Now, restaurants too offer a good selection of cheeses served properly at room temperature with appropriate garnishes, nut bread, and a variety of at least three different cheeses. Many are from Quebec, some from Ontario; others may originate in France or Italy. Steven Jenkins is not only a cheesemonger, but cheese aficionado who travels to Europe twice yearly to visit famous cheese-producing regions as well as selected dairies specializing in artisan cheeses.

WORKMAN PUBLISHING NEW YORK 1996, 548 pages.

The Cheese Primer is extensive – divided into cheese production, purchasing, storing and service. After this general information, the author delves into France region by region, then comes Italy, followed by Switzerland, the British isles, Spain, the U S A and Canada.

The information provided is valuable for cheese lovers, restaurateurs and cheesemongers. This book should be on the must-read list of all who like cheese and all people who have anything to do with cheese, like hotel purchasing agents, caterers, convention planners, wedding consultants, just to name a few.
It is written with enthusiasm, based on first hand knowledge, and richly illustrated.
Canada’s cheeses get only a little more than one page out of 548 pages. I believe this to be too little for all the excellent cheeses of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

Other countries i.e Argentina gets only a few lines, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Bulgaria, Romania and other Middle Eastern countries are not mentioned at all, despite the fact that they produce significant amounts of cheese. Including these countries may have added 40 – 50 pages, which would rendered the book too voluminous.

The Cheese Primer is an excellent book for all who are interested in cheese and would like to learn more. For all restaurateurs and chefs, this should be an excellent reference source. This highly detailed, informative book is recommended and should grace the library of all consumers.

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