Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, we can focus on the cheese lover’s favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day. Forget Hallmark and the onslaught of “red velvet” sweet bombs all over the Internet, and remember the best recipe for a romantic evening is, well, cheese and champagne. Even if you’re without a Valentine this year, you’re never alone if you have cheese. Amen.
No one understands this better than friend-of-the-blog Kirstin Jackson, author of the blog and now book, “It’s Not You, It’s Brie.” I’ve had Kirstin’s book since Christmas but waited to tell you about it because it is truly a love letter to American artisan cheeses and the men and women who make them. In contrast to traditional encyclopedic approaches to cheese study, Jackson takes us on a more personal journey. She divides American cheese into 16 genres, ranging from “prepubescent cheese” to “old wheels” and beyond. Within each genre she introduces three selections, which allows her to give an intimate look at the featured dairies and creameries. By the end of the book, you’ll feel like you too are on a first-name basis with some of America’s finest cheesemakers, and may find yourself at the cheese counter asking, “Hey, do you have some of Kurt’s Dinah?”
While the prose is light, Jackson doesn’t shy away from technical details. This Italian nit-picker was pleased to see her explain why some may not consider Salvatore Bklyn ricotta to be true ricotta. You’ll also learn such impress-the-friends trivia as the mold that makes “bloomy rind magic” happen. Each chapter concludes with a recipe featuring that style of cheese, so as you’re following along at home, you can see how the different styles are best used in the kitchen. I have a date this weekend with Jackson’s “Landaff and Celery Root Beer Soup.”
GIVEAWAY: We’ll be back tomorrow with the first in our Curd Cupid series, but take a moment now to tell us what cheese you’d nibble on while reading “It’s Not You, It’s Brie.” We’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader. Entries accepted until midnight EDT on Wednesday, February 13; we’ll announce the winner on Valentine’s Day.