Discover the creamy, crumbly, pungent, and wonderful world of French cheese in this combination travelogue and food history that will delight readers of delicious travel narratives like French Lessons and The Sweet Life in Paris.
Parisian cheesemonger Pierre Androuet once famously described cheese as "the soul of the soil." If Scarlett O'Hara had been French, she would have held up a hunk of the local chevre instead of the dirt of Tara when she vowed never to go hungry again. But where does this highly artisanal, bacteria-laden wonderfood fit into the modern era of supermarchés, sterilization, and EU regulations?
In The Whole Fromage, Kathe Lison travels across France to find out. She encounters her share of farm animals and weather-beaten shepherds, but she also speaks to food scientists and visits the gleaming headquarters of a multinational dairy cooperative. She tracks down the cheesemakers, whose lifestyles and philosophies are as varied and flavorful as the delicacies they produce. And 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.
With writing that is as piquant and rich as a well-aged Roquefort, as charming as a tender springtime chèvre, and yet as unsentimental as a stinky Maroilles, The Whole Fromage is a tasty exploration of a food, a country, and the meaning of "tradition."