“This book is a treat for everyone, from the ‘curd nerds’ that I know and love to relative novices, and if there’s one thing that’s apparent in House of Cheese, it’s that pairing cheese is easy – and fun!” says Darlington. “I can’t wait to see what kinds of hyper-local pairings people across the country will create.”
Readers are invited to seek out cheeses that are produced in their state, then dream up pairings that utilize other indigenous ingredients for a plate that is as representative of its terroir as a fine wine. States with established cheese producers, such as Wisconsin and New York, will appear alongside lesser-known creameries, creating a national cheese roadmap and, in the spirit of the book, a collaborative cheese guide. Every winning submission will receive a copy of House of Cheese, signed by Darlington, and will receive a dedicated post on her blog.
House of Cheese recently received praise from Philadelphia Inquirer food writer and critic Craig Laban who called it “a smartly curated guide” adding it is “full of authoritative and engaging advice on house to use cheese that should appeal to all levels of knowledge.” The book also gives readers an inside look at third-generation Philly legends and culinary pioneers Di Bruno Bros., the city’s largest and oldest cheese counter, and features: menus for a variety of cheese boards; ideas for pairings that range from beer and cocktails to olives and charcuterie; tips on how to buy, serve and store cheese; detailed cheese descriptions and tasting notes on 170 of the most loved and requested cheeses from the counters of Di Bruno Bros; and 30 cheese-focused recipes.
The first Di Bruno Bros. shop debuted in the iconic South Philadelphia Italian Market in 1939. Since then, the family has grown the company to include four retail locations in and around the city, serving their neighborhoods not only a world-class cheese selection, but gourmet prepared foods, baked goods, fresh meats and seafood and artisan products from around the world. People travel from around the country to visit the shops – including chef and food personality Anthony Bourdain, who taped a 2012 episode of his Travel Channel show, The Layover, at Di Bruno Bros.
For the cookbook, the sage and approachable “mongers” of Di Bruno Bros. worked together with Darlington to gather their ultimate list of the world’s greatest artisan cheeses, many of them found in the U.S. Chapters are listed by cheese types: Vixens are rich and decadent; Mountain Men are bold; and Stinkers give off a strong whiff. The playful personifications lend a user-friendly tone to the guide and help readers to discover new favorite cheeses based on those they already know and love. Each cheese profile incorporates perfect pairings, giving readers suggestions on what to serve alongside each cheese, as well as beverage complements.
Original recipes created by Darlington and the chefs at Di Bruno Bros, both as components of a cheese board and as stand-alone dishes, allow readers to make simple and delicious plates and accoutrements at home to showcase their favorite cheese varieties. Recipes include: Scharfe Maxx S’mores, made with dark chocolate, torrone and Scharfe Maxx, a raw cow’s milk cheese; Rogue River Sushi, made with prosciutto, membrillo and Rogue River Smokey Blue cheese; Limburger Mac ‘N’ Cheese; Caramelized Endive Marmalade; and Blue Velvet Pudding.
Themed cheese board menus, such as Fireside Party and All-Goat Blow-Out, provide road maps for fun group tastings or festive party spreads. Wheels and wedges are illustrated by brilliant full-color photos from well-known food photographer Jason Varney, making for a thorough primer on cheese from Philly’s acknowledged top experts. Sprinkled throughout the book are educational tidbits, historical fun facts and tasting notes – and it ends with a section on cheese vocabulary, sure to turn any casual cheese fan into a well-spoken pro.
For more information, or to order a copy of Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, please visit http://www.perseusbooksgroup.com/runningpress/book_detailjsp?isbn=0762446048. For information on book signings and other interactive events, and to submit a recipe for the pairing contest, please visit http://www.dibruno.com/blog/.