"You mightn't happen to have a piece of cheese about you, now? No? Well, many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese—toasted, mostly—and woke up again, and here I were."
These are the words spoken by Ben Gunn to Jim Hawkins in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, when Jim discovers this poor man marooned for three years without so much as a hunk of Cheddar, Brie, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Stilton, Manchego, or any other aged dairy goodness in sight. This issue of Gourmet Live pays homage to fromage—because cheese would surely top our rescue rations list, too.
With so many wonderful cheeses from around the world—including amazing artisanal varieties made here in the U.S.—we had a hard time choosing just one cheesemaker or cheese to spotlight for this issue. Yet a narrowing of focus is not a problem for Per Bengtsson, co-owner of the restaurant PM & Vänner in Växjö, Sweden, where he serves cheese made from milk that comes from not just a single herd but a single cow. In Sweden's Single-Cow Cheese, longtime Gourmet contributor Lisa Abend tells the exceptional farm-to-table tale of a heifer named Pärla and the delicacies derived from her rich milk.
Closer to home, we have seven suggestions for cheese shops well worth a stop from Maine to California in our latest Road Trip collaboration with BlogHer. Stop by your local cheese shop for a ball of fresh-made mozzarella, then dig into Eight Great Tips for Homemade Pizza, a pie primer by chef Scott McMillen of New York's Institute of Culinary Education. Learn about achieving the perfect crisp crust, add a saucy secret ingredient, then top your pie with whatever you haul home from the farmers' market. We're partial to duck bacon these days, or savory morsels of gently roasted hen-of-the-woods mushrooms.
As the nights get nippier and entertaining shifts indoors for good, we're in the mood for cozy gatherings like the Cheese Tasting Party featured in this issue. Adapted from a favorite story Gourmet ran some years ago, this comprehensive guide covers goat, soft, blue, and hard cheeses; expert wine recommendations and other accompaniments; and advice on serving and storage.
If you enjoy cooking with cheese, don't miss Cheese Craze, a Web-exclusive slideshow of 17 recipes featuring everything from spicy nachos to sweetened cheese squares for dessert. For further inspiration, remember the Gourmet Italian Cookbook, which is full of cheesy hits such as Mushroom and Mozzarella Arancini and Mascarpone-rich Tiramisu.
What's your all-time favorite cheese to nibble on or cook with? Let us know via Twitter or Facebook, drop us a line, or post a comment on our blog. For more tasty bites, sign up for our weekly newsletter to get convenient access to our most-read blog posts, editors' favorite recipes, and exclusive reader offers.
The editors of Gourmet Live