THE WHOLE FROMAGE: Adventures in the Delectable World of French Cheese
by Kathe Lison
Publisher Broadway Books/Random House, June 25, 2013
The French, san doute, love their fromages. And there's
much to love: hundreds of gloriously pungent varieties-crumbly, creamy,
buttery, even shot through with bottle-green mold. So many varieties, in
fact, that the aspiring gourmand might fairly wonder, How to make sense of
In The Whole Fromage Kathe Lison sets out to learn what makes
French cheese so remarkable-why France is the "Cheese Mother Ship," in the
words of one American expert. She meets the dairy scientists, shepherds,
affineurs, and cheesemakers who make up the world of modern French
cheese and whose lifestyles and philosophies are as varied and flavorful as
the delicacies they produce. She meets head-on the polemics of
self-appointed defenders of traditional French cheese, who consider
themselves the last best hope against American-style sanitation,
standardization, and fast-food culture. And most delicious of all, she meets
the cheeses themselves-from spruce-wrapped Mont d'Or, so gooey it's
best eaten with a spoon; to luminous Beaufort, redolent of Alpine
grasses and wildflowers, a single round of which can weigh as much as a
Saint Bernard; to Camembert, invented in Normandy but beloved and
imitated the world over.
With writing as piquant and rich as a well-aged Roquefort, as charming as a
tender springtime chevre, and yet as unsentimental as a stinky
Maroilles, The Whole Fromage is a tasty exploration of some of
the great culinary treasures of France.
"From the Loire Valley to the Alpine slopes, Lison’s journey is très
amusant…Lison captures a passion of all things fromage."
-- Rob Kaufelt, owner of Murray’s Cheese
"This look at the land of 350 (or is it 650?) cheeses considers why a
country smaller than the state of Texas has devoted so much of its
culinary-rich life to fermenting milk. Wisconsinite Kathe Lison introduces
readers to "the pope of cheese," "lait cru," and religion's role in France's
holy wheels. 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: Unwrapping
America's Unique Culture of Cheese
“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. Along the way, she meets cherubic farm wives who breed their
goats for beauty, legendary affineurs who spend their days tending rinds,
diehard policy wonks who decry pasteurization, and proponents of a
mysterious "whey cure." 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
Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings