House of Cheese – A Guide To Wedges, Recipes, and Pairing“Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese: A Guide to Wedges, Recipes and Pairings” is one of those wonderful books you can keep on your bedside table, kitchen counter or bring to your favorite cheese shop and flip through again and again, each time coming away with another “slice” of useful cheese-related information. Yes, I said “slice”, sorry.
About the Author
The author, Tenaya Darlington, is a freelance blogger for the Di Bruno’s, who own the largest cheese counter in the city of Philadelphia. Darlington is the self-proclaimed “Madame Fromage” and with the help of the Di Bruno family, wrote this well-organized guide to cheese with accompanying recipes. Alongside Chef Rob Sidor and everyone in the kitchen at the Di Bruno Bros on Chestnut Street, Darlington produced a number of unique and useful recipes throughout each chapter.
It’s normal to have “reluctant” tendencies when entering the world of cheese: there are endless choices available to you at a cheese store or farmers market. However, Darlington makes you feel instantly comfortable from the get-go, explaining that she too was intimidated at the cheese counter by “all those Italian hunks and weepy little French guys” (she’s talking about the cheeses). But there is no need for hesitancy when going to the Di Bruno store: the owners at the House of Cheese treat every customer—whether cheese novice or connoisseur—like family.
What’s In The Book?
The book is steeped in the history of Danny and Joe Di Bruno, two brothers hailing from Abruzzo with dreams of opening a family-run Italian cheese market in Philadelphia. And that they did: The Di Bruno family has been serving delicious cheeses from around the globe to the Philadelphia area since 1939. This recipe book comes highly recommended, and it is definitely useful and enjoyable to have around the house the next time you’re looking for some cheese-inspiration.
Before reading Darlington’s book, I didn’t think someone could possibly talk about cheese with such gusto and zeal. Yet Madame Fromage’s enthusiasm for good dairy is infectious, and I walked away with a greater understanding and appreciation for cheese. She covers 170 of the Di Bruno family’s top cheeses and includes useful recipes and pairing suggestions along the way.
What I enjoyed the most about the book was the unique way that Darlington presented the cheeses. She attributes a specific personality trait to each cheese, and categorizes them under the following headings:
- Baby faces (fresh, unaged)
- Quiet types (approachable, subtle)
- Free spirits (sunshiny, herby)
- Vixens (rich, decadent)
- Mountain men (bold, Alpine)
- Stinkers (whiffy, boozy)
- Rockstars (rare, revered)
- Wise guys (old school, hard)
- Sugar mamas (sweet, desserty).
- Pierced punks (intense, blue).
More Than Just Cheese
And the book goes well beyond just cheese. Some of the most useful tips Madame Fromage covers in the book are menus for cheese boards and tips on how to buy, serve, and store cheese. Her recipes and suggestions include Zeke’s Bacon and Maple Grilled Cheese, how to achieve the perfect martini to pair with Pecorino, and a blue cheese velvet pudding. Darlington gives you simple and creative menu ideas as well as a comprehensive guide to cheese jargon. The book includes beautiful photographs and stories passed along by each generation of the Di Bruno family.
Next time you’re in South Philly, stop by the Di Bruno family market, pick up a good hunk of cheese, and grab this book. Or you can order yours online on Amazon like I did.