If you find a vast cheese counter intimidating, here's what Tenaya Darlington suggests: "Walk up to the counter and look lost. Cheesemongers, like forest rangers, want to help you." This should give you an idea for the cheeky tone and style of this cheese-filled tome. Part cookbook and part cheese encyclopedia, Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese will give you a cheese-ducation like none other.
• Who wrote it: Tenaya Darlington
• Who published it: Running Press
• Number of recipes: About 30
• Recipes for right now: Goat Cheese Terrine with Fig Jam and Pesto, Baked Caña de Cabra with Pine Nuts and Honey, Pickled Feta with Cerignola Olives and Strawberries, Peach Balsamic Compote, Tomato and Pancetta Strata
• Other highlights: Sometimes you just need the right person to talk to you about a tricky subject in just the right way — for me, that's Tenaya Darlington with House of Cheese. Many very fantastic books on cheese have been published over the years, but this is the first one that describes cheese in a way that "sticks" for me.
I love the way Darlington splits the world of cheese into eight
- Baby Faces (fresh, unaged cheeses)
- Quiet Types (approachable, subtle cheeses)
- Free Spirits (sunshiny, herby, mostly goat's milk cheeses)
- Vixens (rich, decadent cheeses)
- Mountain Men (bold, Alpine cheeses)
- Stinkers (whiffy, boozy cheeses)
- Rockstars (rare, revered cheeses)
- Wise Guys (old school, mostly Italian cheeses)
- Sugar Mamas (sweet, desserty cheeses)
- Pierced Punks (blue cheeses)
Besides making me chuckle, this breakdown just makes so much sense to me. Rather than seeming like a jumble of random, paper-wrapped wedges, the cheese counter has a little more order and logic to me now.
The chapters of the book follow these eight basic categories. Darlington describes many of the most popular and oft-requested cheeses from Di Bruno Bros. — the cheese shop in Philadelphia where she received her own cheese-ducation. Her descriptions are colorful, incredibly detailed, and often hilarious. My favorite: "If the French have cornered the market on goat cheese, it's because of cheeses like [Carre du Berry]. It might as well have been assembled by elflings." Who wouldn't want to try a cheese that tastes like it was made by elves?
The recipes scattered throughout the book complement the cheeses being described — some use the cheeses themselves and others are for jams and crackers to complement the offerings on a cheese plate. All these recipes sound completely tempting and equally worthy of both dinner parties and solo cheese-fests.
This book was published a few months ago and I regret that it's taken me this long to truly sit down with it. Just think of all the fabulous cheese inspiration from which I could have been benefiting! Don't make my mistake — find yourself a copy and get your cheese fix post-haste.
• Who would enjoy this book? Cheese lovers of all stripes.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese by Tenaya Darlington
• Visit the author's website: Tenaya Darlington
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)