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Not just cheese

tv Updated: Jul 21, 2008 11:45 IST

Hindustan Times
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Will Studd is a man on a mission - to revive the world's interest in the fastdisappearing practice of traditional cheese-making. "It is vital to explain the significance of artisan and farmhouse cheese… and what makes them so different from predictable mass-produced cheese," says the Master of Cheese from Australia.

His ten-part television series, Cheese Slices, is set to premiere in India and Studd was in town to launch the show.

Slice of history
From the legendary Roquefort and farmhouse cheddar to the relatively modern emmenthal and camembert, there are thousands of varieties of hand-made cheese in the world. And, according to Studd, "There is a history behind every type, reflecting the land and the season it comes from."

Cheese Slices is a two-and-a-half-year long quest that explores this history, and the traditions and the people behind some famous cheeses. Among other places, Studd travels to Lombardy to check out the underground cellars where 70 percent of the world's Gorgonzola is matured; to the small village of Camembert in France, where the last farmhouse producer of this benchmark cheese resides; and to the town of Parma to meet with - Cheese Slices premieres on Discovery Travel & Living on July 22 at 8 pm the Biemme families who have been making Parmigiano Reggiano for four generations.

Reviving interest
At the end of the day, Studd says, "the show is not just about cheese; it's a larger statement." By upholding a tradition, he is trying to preserve the land and the people intimately concerned with it. "When the tradition disappears, you take away the local community and risk losing the connection with that land," he says, citing farmhouse cheddar as an example. Thirty years back, there were forty producers of the cheese in Somerset, England; today, there are only three left.

This is where the show's importance is most apparent. By broadcasting it to countries that have never really had a history of cheese-making, he hopes it will inspire a whole new generation of cheese-makers and tasters. India and America are two such countries. "Here, you have to take people away from mass-produced innocuous cheese to cheese with real flavour. [It's about] opening their eyes for the first time," says Studd. And he is optimistic that Indians are ready to develop a palate for it.

Cheese how-to's Store the cheese in a refrigerator, wrapped in cling-on plastic Ensure that you take it out in enough time to serve it at room temperature Cheese pairs well with white wine. Red wine goes well only with certain cheeses like Cheddar and Reblechon The best way to serve it is with bread