By Alex and Léo Guarneri
Recipes by Alessandro Grano
Frances Lincoln Limited, £20
This is, first and foremost, a beautiful book, overflowing with photographs of landscapes as well as food, telling us immediately that this is not just about the taste of cheese, but also its provenance and surroundings.
French brothers and authors Alex and Léo Guarneri are from a genuinely foodie family - their grandfather used to import food and their mother ran a cookery school in Paris. The brothers now run a shop in London under the historic Androuet brand, supplying cheese to such illustrious names as Duck & Waffle, Bruno Loubet, the Galvin brothers, Terroirs and the French embassy.
This book - more ode to cheese than mere cookbook - is a celebration of the melted, crumbled, fried, baked, spreadable and mashable array of ways of preparing this varied product. The recipes hail from Italian-born, London-trained, Androuet head chef Alessandro Grano, whose understated skill shines throughout.
The chapters are arranged according to the seasons: with spring comes freshness and earthiness; summer equals wild flowers and aromatic flavours; autumn brings rich tastes and warm characters; and winter provides six-month matured classics.
Dishes range from a simple yet satisfying baked Camembert, Raclette and Emmental croque-monsieur and Montgomery Cheddar and pale ale rarebit, to the slightly more complex peach clafoutis with La Tur or terrine of aubergine, confit tomato and Irish St Tola. Starters, mains, snacks and desserts are all represented, including the rather more unusual Cornish Blue ice-cream with caramelised walnuts.
The effect is a gloriously comforting yet refined frolic through a catalogue of delectable cheeses, making this book the equivalent of a lazily melting toastie with a touch of elegant truffle on top.
By Hannah Thompson
If you liked this, try these
Fiona Beckett's Cheese Course - Fiona Beckett
Cheese Patricia Michelson
The World Cheese Book Juliet Harbutt