Review by Debbie Mazo

In the beginning, there was cheese!

Yes, one of life's oldest and simplest culinary pleasures is cheese. And, when you consider that you only have to leave milk alone for cheese to form, the varieties and textures of cheese are quite remarkable. If you can't live without your daily slice, check out CheeseNet—an attractive web site dedicated to the wide world of cheese and the art and science of cheesemaking.

Hosted by Kyle Whelliston, CheeseNet began in 1995 and has been growing ever since. The site aims to spread the word on cheese and its many uses, and succeeds in doing so with a database of over 100 cheeses from all over the globe. The World Cheese Index offers pictures of each cheese as well as detailed information on individual cheese types. Where available, information on fat content, water content, wine partners, and details on the cheesemaking process is included.

You can search through the database by selecting the first letter in the name of the cheese (for example, a for asiago or c for colby), or you can find out about cheeses by their country of origin such as Roquefort "the King of Cheeses" from France. Cheese Information is an online cheese library with links to the history of cheese, basic cheesemaking, types of cheese, and a glossary with a list of relevant cheese terminology. In the glossary, you can learn about cheese brushing, for example, performed on certain types of natural rind cheeses during the period they spend ripening. This brushing, done by hand or machine, helps the interior of the cheese to keep moist during the ripening period, and affects the final flavor of the cheese.

If you're in a literary mood, surf the Cheese Literature for some homegrown cheese prose and poetry. Here, you can read a story titled Cheese and the Fury or a poem called Muenster Musings. Or, if you want to connect with other "cheeseheads", click the Cheesenet BBS for recipes, hints, and cheese inquiries. Finally, Cheese Links provides a long list of links to other cheese-related sites. Although some of the links are currently unavailable, CheeseNet still comes through as the first and last stop for the best of cheese on the Internet.

Debbie Mazo is a writer and editor based in Vancouver, Canada. She currently specializes in technical and marketing materials, but is also pursuing opportunities in food journalism.


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