Compiled by Susan Sherrill Axelrod
A book makes a great gift, if it’s focused on a subject the recipient is interested in (Unlike those how-to “catch” a husband books a well-meaning aunt used to give me in my single days). Whether the cheese lovers on your list are cheese plate fanatics, DIYers, avid cooks, or simply want to learn as much as they can about the world of curd, we think these titles—all published in the last two years—are tops.
Gather, members of the cheese congregation: Evangelist cheesemonger Erika Kubick is here to spread the curd word in her debut book, Cheese Sex Death (Abrams, October 2021,$29.99). In it, Kubick shares her Ten Commandments of Cheese, insta-worthy recipes, beverage pairings for all, easy-to-follow cheese plate formulas, and more—all in pages filled with the mouth-watering, aesthetically pleasing photography Kubick is known for. Praise Cheesus.
The New Rules of Cheese (Ten Speed Press, October 2020, $14.99) is the first book from Anne Saxelby, founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers in New York City, (who passed away unexpectedly in October, 2021). In her colorful and quirky guide, Saxelby offers tips on how to pair and repurpose cheese, the history and background of cheesemaking, and the science behind cheese’s many health benefits.
Cheese expert Tristan Sicard’s A Field Guide to Cheese (Workman Publishing, September 2020, $27.95) covers everything from the history of cheese to an encyclopedia of 400-plus beloved global cheeses. This comprehensive guide offers hundreds of pages of illustrations, graphics, and maps that will satisfy the average cheese lover as much as a seasoned monger.
Lovers of British cheese will swoon over British Cheese On Toast (Headline Home, June 2021, $22.99), where award-winning cheese shop owner Steve Parker guides you through a tasting tour of beloved British cheeses like cheddar, Wensleydale, Stilton, and more. Plus, they can try over 100 recipes—from Lancashire Macaroni Cheese to Old Winchester Aubergine Parmigiana—that’ll transport their tastebuds across the pond.
Move over, pot roast—multicookers are a DIY cheesemaking tool, now. Claudia Lucero’s latest book Instant Pot Cheese (Storey Publishing, September 2020, $16.95) is making this delicious craft accessible to aspiring at-home makers. The book covers all the basics and illustrates how a multicooker can act as a money-saving tool to make cheeses such as paneer and burrata.
During times of uncertainty, practicing self-care should be at the tippy-top of our priorities. But why paint by number when you can cheese by number? Marissa Mullen, the woman behind viral cheese Instagrams @cheesebynumbers and @thatcheeseplate, brings us That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life (The Dial Press, 2020, $28) which showcases her gorgeous boards, and breaks them down so any cheese fanatic can follow suit at home.
Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, grab some bread and cheese to double. The Cheese Poet, Erin Harris, is here to guide you through fondues and don’ts. In the Essential Fondue Cookbook (Rockridge Press, 2020, $14.99), find the fundamentals of fondue along with guides to choose the perfect pot, recipes spanning from savory traditional Swiss fromage blends to newer modern mixes, and lessons in proper etiquette to make any fondue party pop.
If melty cheese was its own category in the food pyramid, Polina Chesnakova would certainly make it the foundation. In her latest cookbook Hot Cheese (Chronicle Books, 2020, $19.95), she dives into all things ooey and gooey with recipes ranging from American classics like cheesy tater tot hot dish to Khachapuri, a boat-shaped bread vessel filled with oozy cheese and runny egg hailing from the country of Georgia.