If there is one thing that is constant about me in this world, it is that I love cheese. Ask my parents and they will gladly tell you the mass amounts of Kraft cheddar I used to consume. As I grew, so did my palate and now I can say that my happiness lies in artisan wheels. One of the most frustrating things about good cheese, though, is that purchasing it can be scary. There are so many kinds, all with vastly different flavors, and you can’t remember any of their names. You step up to the counter, looking wary, and quickly mumble your favorite cow’s milk variety. Moments ago, you were confident, ready to break out of your realm of familiarity, but here you are, doing nothing of the sort.
Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes, and Pairings, written by Tenaya Darlington, effortlessly breaks down those barriers, categorizing each type of cheese as you would a potential suitor. The chapter of “baby faces” showcases young cheeses like ricotta and burrata, while “Mountain Men” features bold hunks you might like to take on a day outdoors or snack along with a cold brew. And if Darlington knows anything about cheese (she does, by the way. Check out her stellar blog), you’ll easily be able to find your way to cheese heaven through her easy guides.
The Italian Di Bruno Bros own the namesake cheese shop in Philly, and have since 1939. The collaboration is seamless, as there are many tidbits of advice from cheesemongers from the shop sprinkled next to descriptions.
With each description of the taste (which will leave your mouth watering, guarnteed), she also describes their personality. Leonora, a Spanish goat’s milk cheese, for example, is described as “a head-turning blonde on a lemon cake bender.” Finally, she lists food that might pair well with the cheese in question, in addition to any wine or beer.
With an indulgent cuisine that can leave many feeling overwhelmed and confused, Darlington mixes guides for buying, pairing, and cooking all into one place. If you’re too embarrassed to bring in your highlighted, dog-eared copy into your own cheese shop, I suggest making a small list of all that appeals to you. I know I did!