By Tenaya Darlington’94
Running Press, 2013
Tenaya Darlington is the resident freelance cheese blogger for Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, Philadelphia’s largest and oldest cheese counter, a place that chef Anthony Bourdain called a “temple of awesomeness and delight.”
But despite growing up in Wisconsin, Darlington was not always a cheese connoisseur.
“A few years ago, I was like you,” Darlington writes in the book’s preface, “standing at that cheese counter, intimidated by all those Italian hunks and weepy little French guys. I am speaking, of course, about cheese.”
Darlington began frequenting Di Bruno Bros., first shyly, then with her notebook in hand, documenting tastings, capturing stories, and drawing on the expertise of the store’s third-generation owners. Her book shares these adventures, bringing to life 170 artisanal cheeses from the Di Bruno Bros. counter and suggesting pairings with wine, beer, cocktails, and food.
Categorizing various cheeses as “Quiet Types,” “Rockstars,” “Vixens,” “Wise Guys,” and even “Sugar Mamas,” the novelist and professor of writing at Saint Joseph’s University, known as “Madame Fromage” on her popular blog (madamefromageblog.com), offers tips on everything from talking to a cheesemonger to buying cheese, serving it, storing it, and even building a themed party around tasting cheese.
“Our hope is that you will flip through these pages in much the same way that you might wander through a party after a cocktail or two: with a flirtatious spirit,” Darlington writes. “It doesn’t matter if you’re still in a relationship with Velveeta, as long as you have an open mind.”