1. Do you ever have more types of cheese in your refrigerator than can be juggled? 2. Do you wonder where and how said cheese is made? 3. When you hear the name Wallace do you think -- "Cheese, Gromit!" 4. Do you wish that more restaurants would stop serving the ubiquitous berry cobbler and chocolate cake every night of the week and start serving cheese boards for dessert?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions I think you're going to like this book. I'm tossing mine in the back of the car whenever I head out for a road trip because chances are good that one of the 17 Oregon, 31 Washington, 3 Idaho and 20 British Columbia cheesemakers profiled in the book will be en route.
Tami spent much of last year traveling, visiting and interviewing 70-plus Pacific Northwest cheesemakers so each entry is studded with photos of cheeses being mixed, molded and dried; goats, sheep and cows that make the cheese possible; curd vats, cheese in molds and more. She writes about many of our region's most interesting and delicious cheeses and includes farm and creamery visiting hours if you want to stop by for a curd or two.
There's a cheese primer at the end of the book with info. on everything from storing and pairing cheese, to where to buy artisan cheese in the Pacific Northwest, as well as tasty cheese-centric recipes from restaurants such as Park Kitchen and Boat Street Cafe.
I've already learned a lot from the book. Last night I read that Ancient Heritage Dairy owner Kathy Obringer worked at Mecklenburg Gardens in Cincinnati way back when. I'm from Cincinnati and Mecklenburg's has long been one of my favorite restaurants there. Spaetzle, schnitzel, ham and sauerkraut balls and big steins and glasses of all kinds of amazing German beers on draft. I visit almost every time I'm home. Next time I'm near Scio I'll stop by Ancient Heritage. Or maybe I'll say "hello" at the PSU Portland Farmers Market first... Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest By Tami Parr The Countryman Press, spring 2009 196 pages