Say Cheese!

My Favorite Web Sites - Winchester Star, 1/9/03
 by Martin Zombeck

This is a column providing an annotated list of Web sites that may be of interest to the community. Each column will list sites that belong to a particular category: search engines, art, online newspapers and magazines, health and medicine, history, business and economics, etc. or sites relevant to a particular season, for example, skiing or gardening. Most sites will be non-commercial. To make it easier to access the sites, each bi-weekly column will be posted on the Town of Winchester's Web site so that the sites can be accessed and bookmarked without having to be typed. Previous columns will be archived at the Winchester site, also.


"How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?"
- Charles de Gaulle, in "Les Mots du General", 1962.

No, this column is not about photography. I did that almost two years ago (www.winchestermass.org/wstar/photography.html). It really is about cheese. The making of cheese is at least four thousand years old. This is based on evidence from ancient Sumerian writings. However, it is likely that cheese making started around 10,000 BC when sheep and goats were first domesticated. You may have thought that you have, on occasion, eaten some of this early cheese. But rest assured, the supply is long gone. You probably don't remember this from your high school reading of the Odyssey, but Homer describes how cheese is made. As Ulysses and his men watch from inside his cave, the one-eyed giant Cyclops milks his ewes and goats, curdles the milk, and separates the curds from the whey (the watery part) to make cheese. It's as simple as that. This very brief history of cheese is adapted from French Cheeses, by Kazuko Masui and Tomoko Yamada, DK Publishing, Inc., a book well worth having, if you are a lover of cheese.

The Web sites below will provide you with information on many cheeses of the world. The French consider cheese, wine, and bread to be the "Holy Trinity" of the table. You will, therefore, find recommendations for wines to accompany the French cheeses.

Cheese
www.cheese.com
Cheese.com is one of the most comprehensive cheese sites on the Web. The site has 652 cheeses in its database. You can search this database by name, country of origin (from Afghanistan to Wales; www.cheese.com/country.asp), by texture (hard, semi-hard, semi-soft, soft; www.cheese.com/textures.asp), and by type of milk (from buffalo to yak; www.cheese.com/milk.asp). Each database entry provides a brief description of the cheese, the type of milk, texture, fat content, the name of the producer (when available), and for the French cheeses, recommended wines. Unfortunately the site does not include photographs of the various cheeses which would be very helpful.

The French Cheeses Library
www.fromages.com/library.php
This is a commercial site providing descriptions, photographs, tastes, textures, recommended wines, types of milk, and regions of production for over 200 French cheeses.

GourmetSleuth.com
www.gourmetsleuth.com/fondue.htm
All about cheese fondue. Try the referenced Epicurious recipe - great after a day of skiing. Make sure you have a good white wine available; a Swiss Fendant, for example, to drink with it. An occasional sip of Kirsch would also increase the pleasure of this dish.

GourmetSleuth.com
www.gourmetsleuth.com/category.asp?c=Cheese
Hundreds of cheese links.

The Great Cheeses of New England
www.newenglandcheese.com
Descriptions of cheesemaking companies, links to the their Web sites, and locations of retail outlets for locally produced cheeses.

Previous columns with live links can be found at www.winchestermass.org/wstar

When he is not updating the Town of Winchester Web site (www.winchestermass.org), Martin Zombeck can be found at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where he is a physicist, or at the tennis courts in Winchester.
E-mail: mvz@alum.mit.edu.

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