Chronicle Books, $35.00, 223 pages
If you are very, very serious about cheeses, The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen is a nice addition to your kitchen collection. The recipes are very good, instructions are easy to follow and preparations are simple. Finding the right ingredients (if you insist on following recipes exactly) is another question. If you live in a major metropolitan with a very well stocked cheese shop in your neighborhood, you are in luck. But if your residence is in a small town or rural county, forget it. Most of the cheeses called for are highly specialized, many of us never even heard of, such as Sbrintz (Switzerland), Roncal (Spain), Reblochon (France) or Truffle Tremor (California). In many cases no alternative cheeses are suggested.
Chester Hastings uses both British and American terminology and measurements. Unfortunately, used in the text this double usage is distracting. The head notes are very good, helping you understand the origin of the cheese used in that recipe and other useful observations. Wine pairing is important with cheeses and Hastings has wine notes in front of chapters and wine suggestions with many recipes. Book design could be better by making sure no recipes flip on overleaf pages. Index is well cross referenced.