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Book Review : A Year in Cheese – A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook ( Frances Lincoln Limited )

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The Slow Food movement celebrates local culinary traditions and foods, but equally importantly considers the importance of seasonal production. This book ‘A Year in Cheese’ by the team behind famous artisan cheese shop Androuet illustrates that cheese follows the same seasonal patterns like fruit, vegetables and meat. It is not that you cannot eat these products at any time of the year, but every cheese has a time of the year when it reaches its best and there is always an ideal time to produce different cheeses so that they taste as good as possible. To understand when is the optimal time for different cheeses, you need to understand the process itself, the authors stress that ‘ it’s about listening to nature, understanding the grazing cycle of the animal that’s being milked, knowing what they’re grazing on at which time of year and recognising optimal maturing times.’ The ideas behind seasonal cheese is not new, it was part of the traditional practice of producing and selling cheese for centuries, however in the modern world we have tended to overlooked its importance.

The origins of the Androuet brand go back over a century to 1906 when Henri Androuet was one of the first men to travel across France to bring regional cheeses back to Paris and redefine the role of the fromager from just a cheese seller to someone who matures and cares for the cheese. After the First World War, Henri’s son Pierre carried on the family tradition and became an author of many cookbooks.

At the beginning of  A Year in Cheese, we are introduced to Alex and Leo Guarneri who were inspired by Henri and Pierre Androuet to reintroduce some of the seasonal traditions of cheese to a modern audience. The brothers were also influenced by their upbringing to value good food, their grandfather was a food importer and their mother ran a cookery school in  Paris. Alex trained as a fromager at the Androuet fromagerie in Paris, whilst Leo worked at the world-class Le Cinq restaurant in Paris  learning all aspects of the business. These experiences provided all the skills needed to start their own business which they began as a market stall in Spitalfields Market in London in 2009. They licensed the Androuet name and quickly built up a reputation for high quality cheeses eventually supplying many of London’s best restaurants including Duck & Waffle, Terroirs, Galvin Brothers and Bruno Loubet. The success of the market stall in Spitalfields Market  led to a shop and restaurant,within the last five years, the brother’s empire has expanded to eight branches in Paris and two in Stockholm.

An important member of the London team is head chef, Alessandro Grano whose belief in food which was fresh, seasonal and local immediately stuck a chord with the Guarneri brothers and provided the inspiration for the recipes in the book which pays homage to the past whilst looking for new flavours and exciting ways of cooking with cheese.

The rest of the book is divided in the seasons, with a small introduction about which cheeses are at their best at various times of the year and then a series of recipes that makes best use of whichever cheese is in season and finally a cheeseboard with some of the best cheeses of that particular season.

Many of the recipes are a mixture of the traditional cheese dishes with a modern twist, Raclette and Emmental croque monsieur and Rarebit, Montgomery Cheddar and pale ale being examples. However, there are a wide range of dishes to cover light lunches to more substantial dishes. Tartiflette with Reblochon, Gallettes Bretonnes  with Wild Mushrooms and Gruyere, Lamb Navarin with Soureliette topped toast and the Androuet Fondue look especially appealing.

At the end of the book, there are tips in creating the perfect cheeseboard  and a section that discusses complementary wines which will enhance particular cheeses.

A Year in Cheese is probably not a title to get you too excited, however  the concept of seasonal cheese is actually very interesting and informative. With many people living urban lifestyles removed from nature and with access to foods all the year round, sometimes there is the need for someone to state the obvious that many cheeses are produced in seasonal cycles and have an optimal time when they are at their best. Although we accept the seasonal aspect of many foods and drinks, to consider cheese seasonal seems slightly unusual. It is this widely accepted belief that this attractively produced book challenges, many of the stunning illustrations in the book show that many of the producers are following ancient traditions and cycles to produce products that rely on nature, well looked after animals and the skill of the producer. The Guarneri brothers consider part of their mission is to educate the wider public to some of the wonderful cheeses made throughout Europe and to encourage discussion about the importance of seasonal cheese. This makes A Year in Cheese more than just a cookbook, it is part of a wider movement that promotes local food traditions and celebrates diversity.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book, visit the Amazon website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review – Old Spitalfields Market

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Old Spitalfields Market

Old Spitalfields Market is a covered market in Spitalfields, just outside the City of London.

The has been a market on the site since the 17th Century when it was in a rural area hence Spittle Fields, however it was in the 19th century that new Market buildings were built to cover the expanding Market which now included a wholesale fruit and vegetable market owned by the City of London.
The original wholesale fruit and vegetable market moved to New Spitalfields Market in 1991.

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More recently the market has undergone a renaissance with the Victorian Market Buildings being restored to their former glory and the market considered  one of the best in London.

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The market is overlooked by the imposing Christ Church, Spitalfields, a large Nicholas Hawksmoor church.

The main market days on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday offer shoppers plenty of variety.

There is a Thursday Antiques Market. Friday is for clothes shoppers and art lovers.

On the first and third Friday of the month, a record fair joins the market, with an eclectic mix of different musical styles including rare and collectable vinyl.

Saturdays offer a themed market each week from affordable vintage and designers makers and many more.

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Sunday stallholders tend to sell a little bit of everything.

The Market is surrounded by trendy bars, coffee shops and shops to cater for the local and visitors.

Located just five minutes walk Liverpool Station it is also popular with City workers.

Market Opening Times
Mon – Fri 10am – 5pm
Sat 11am – 5pm
Sun 10am – 5pm

For more information about the market , visit their website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here