WHEN I SAW the title of Katie Quinn’s book “Cheese, Wine, and Bread”, I assumed the role of cheese would play in France. Wheels from this country are still considered the ultimate. But Ms Quinn chose Britain to begin her exploration of the role of fermentation in making delicious foods.
In part, her decision was “purely circumstantial and fortuitous,” Ms. Quinn said, as the American food journalist was living in London when she began work on the book. Once she saw how much English cheese there was to try and how many stories behind each quarter, there was no turning back.
âTo realize that there is actually a town in Somerset called Cheddar that has a rich history of farmhouse producers making cheddarâ¦ It’s something as important as scones to British food culture. â (When it comes to baked goods and cheese, Ms. Quinn’s own recipe for Cheddar-Dotted Brownies plays on the virtues and versatility of variety.)
As Tracey Colley, director of the Academy of British Cheese explained, the revival of the agricultural industry in England began in the 1980s. Prior to that, most cheese production had shifted from small regional dairies to. factories that made mass-produced bricks.
Products of the pre-industrial tradition and its modern revival distinguish British cheese from those made elsewhere. You might hear âBritish territorial cheeseâ in this context â literally, a cheese named after the place where it was traditionally made or sold.