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A Tale of Two Libraries

“How can anyone govern a nation that has two hundred and forty-six different kinds of cheese?” -Charles de Gaulle

Well, Charlie ol’ pal, Wikipedia and the fine folks here at culture magazine are trying to help by providing a place for people to learn all about the vast array of cheeses.

With the unveiling of WikiCheese, Wikipedia is striving to classify the many different varieties of cheese in France. It turns out that Charles de Gaulle was wrong—there are actually many, many more kinds of cheese, depending who you talk to. It is commonly thought that there are around 300 to 400 different varieties of cheese grouped into eight categories, but some turophiles argue that there are actually upwards of 1,000 in France alone.


With such a daunting task at hand, Wikipedia has turned to kisskissbankbank.com, a crowd-funding platform, and has already exceeded its goal of getting €5,000 from donors to fund more mouth-watering cheese photos and articles. If the crowdfunding pulls together €8,000, WikiCheese will be able to include another 100 cheeses on the site. Donations past that point will go toward more cheese variety and better reporting by cheesemakers.

Crowdfunding goals in French, because cheese inforgraphics = just great.

Crowdfunding goals in French, because cheese inforgraphics = just great.

Those who choose to contribute will get much more than the satisfaction of knowing they helped further the cause of fromage: with a contribution, they will be invited to a monthly cheese-eating session at the encyclopedia’s Paris offices to learn about the different cheeses from Pont-l’évêque to Cantal. Professional photographers will be on hand to capture the cheeses in all their glory, and the attendees will be encouraged to write an article on their new cheesy knowledge. These monthly soirées will continue for the next 18 months until nearly 200 cheeses are properly documents.

More WikiCheese

If you don’t happen to live in France or have access to many French cheeses, we highly recommend the culture’s Cheese Library! Not only does our collection have several French cheeses, we have a selection form all over the world. Each listing gives a picture and a detailed description of the cheese at hand. Tasting notes and pairing notes are often added to help with your selection. The library is constantly growing, so continue to poke around to see what has been added.

Rory Mulholland “Wikipedia asks French to help explain cheese- with WikiCheese”
Photos via KissKissBankBank

Virginia Hyde

Virginia Hyde is a southern girl at heart who just moved to Boston to submerge herself in food - mainly cheese, to be honest. Game for any food-related adventure, festival, or gathering, she is ready to share her passion for cheese with others. Virginia is currently working on a Masters in Gastronomy at Boston University.