Cheese & Wine by Victoria Pearson [free textbook pdf]

  • Full Title : Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing, and Enjoying
  • Autor: Victoria Pearson
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Edition edition
  • Publication Date: September 20, 2007
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811857433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811857437
  • Download File Format: epub


From the best-selling author of The Cheese Course comes a new guide to enjoying one of the most basic yet sophisticated culinary delights: cheese and wine. Janet Fletcher leads readers on an international tour of 70 cheeses,exploring the best wine pairings and serving suggestions. From Oregon’s autumnal Rogue River Blue to aromatic Brind’Amour evocative of the Corsican countryside, cheese lovers will savor the range of textures, flavors, and colors. Featuring mouth-watering color photography and detailed, informative text, this collection of cheeses and the wines that go with them will inspire perfect pairings.



“This book offers a profile of 70 cheeses, from Spanish Mahon to dry Monterey Jack, and each includes wines that would pair well with them. It’s simple, easy to use and informative.” &mdashSan Antonio Express-News, December 12, 2007

About the Author

Janet Fletcher is a food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of several Chronicle Books cookbooks.

Victoria Pearson’s photographs have been featured in Party Appetizers, Ice Creams & Sorbets, and Dinner Parties.



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—at least I thought so.

The problem is that I really didn’t see the relationship between what I ate and my health. I thought that as long as I was working out five or six days a week, I was healthy.

I love food and we were lucky enough to be young and single, with both of us making good money. This coupled with our love for gourmet food and wine meant that one of our favorite things in the world to do was go out to nice dinners. And we did—often four or more nights a week. I never worried about calories and instead enjoyed the moment. In my mind I was young enough that it shouldn’t matter.

When we weren’t eating out, I was cooking gourmet meals at home. Bon Appétit was my best friend and back in those days the richer a dish was the better!

Flash forward six years.

I’m sitting in the doctor’s office. It’s a routine visit and I’m annoyed to be there. I’m thinking to myself “get the prescription for your birth control pills refilled and get out of here as soon as you can.” (After all, we had dinner reservations that night!)

The nurse is taking my blood pressure and looks puzzled. She stops and looks at me in disbelief and doesn’t say anything. She takes my blood pressure again. She leaves the room, still not saying anything. When she comes back she has another cuff and takes it for a third time. Finally she says, “Your blood pressure is really high.”

Ok, I think. How high could it be? I’m thirty-two years old and while I wouldn’t qualify as buff anymore, I’m still reasonably trim. I still get to the gym. Occasionally.

I then hear the number that will haunt me forever: 168/129.

I later find out that what this means as that the ripe old age of thirty-two, I was the proud owner of stage 3 hypertension.

This is long before I developed a mistrust of modern medicine, so I did what most people do. I blindly start popping pills twice a day. Pills that seem to drain my energy and make my brain fuzzy. I start to feel old.

Did I mention I was only thirty-two?

My weight started to creep up and despite this or the fact that I had such serious hypertension in the first place, not once did anyone mention my diet. No one suggested that I start exercising again. The only thing I ever heard was that I needed to take medicine. When pressed, my doctor told me that I should plan on needing medication to regulate my blood pressure for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I got pregnant with my son and endured the joys of that high risk pregnancy that I even started to question this. I was on medication for my blood pressure for the entire pregnancy with my oldest. When he was five months old, I found out I was pregnant again.

Determined to NOT go through all the additional testing and screening I’d endured the first time, I did something that in hindsight was pretty stupid.

Luckily it worked out for me.

I started eating healthier and took myself off the medication. (Don’t do this, by the way.)

I promised my OB that I’d take my blood pressure every day and if it was ever high I would go back on the drugs. Fortunately, it always hovered at just above normal—around 130/85—which wasn’t considered to be high enough to warrant medication during pregnancy.

This pregnancy ended uneventfully and now I was the proud mommy of two boys, just fourteen months apart. I was in love with my babies, ecstatic, and exhausted—things that I’m sure all moms feel.

Two and a half years later everything in my life felt heavy.

The challenge of having two- and three-year-old boys was made even more stressful by the mortgage and real estate meltdown. The very industries that had paid for all those nice dinners out years before had all but vanished before our eyes and all that was left to do was pick up the pieces and try to move on.

At first, I ate my emotions and washed them down with wine after the boys were in bed. My weight ballooned up to 200 pounds. My high blood pressure returned, though I never went to the doctor for it. I was overwhelmed on every level and though I was only thirty-six years old, I honestly couldn’t see the future.

It would be years before I would lose this feeling of being lost and sometimes it still haunts me. The truth is that poor health for many of us can be tied to how we feel about the rest of our lives.

You have to feel like you are worth the effort to eat healthy.

One of the things that helped me the most was finding Tosca Reno’s Eat-Clean Diet series. At the time, I wasn’t ready to really eat clean or even to figure out what worked for me. I still didn’t feel that I was worth it. After all, I had two small boys who required my full attention and I allowed myself to believe that I was doing the best thing to put all of my energy into them. But it was the first time that it really sunk in that it was food that was at the core of my health. I made some small steps and it was here that I discovered quinoa.

It was love at first bite and over the next couple of years, the way I felt about food began to evolve. I started thinking about real food versus processed food. I stopped taking the boys to fast food restaurants and renewed my passion for cooking. Slowly, I was beginning to realize that I needed to question everything I’d been brought up to believe about food and find my own truths. I was still obsessed with gourmet food, but I was always thinking: how can I make this healthier?

My weight loss was very slow because I refused to follow any program that I couldn’t follow for the rest of my life. I wasn’t following a program, I was evolving as a person.

At first it was about a pound a month. Hardly impressive to those around you when you are starting off as heavy as I was! But I felt better and I was better for my boys. At thirtynine I went vegetarian and it was with this move that I believe I said good-bye to high blood pressure forever. In the next year, without counting calories, consistent exercise, or ever depriving myself, I lost about two pounds a month. It was slow, it was steady, and it felt good!

I firmly believe that a plant-based diet can go a long way toward restoring health, but that isn’t why I did it. I’ve never liked meat and for the first time I respected myself enough to start eating how I wanted rather than how I had been taught to eat. I think that when you start being true to yourself everything just starts to work. (I don’t, by the way, feel that everyone should be a vegetarian. This is what works for me. Eating is a personal thing and I encourage you to figure out what works for you.)

As I write this, I am forty-one years old and expecting my first little girl to make her appearance in less than two months. My blood pressure these days hovers around 104/68 with no medication.

Not bad for a girl who was told nine years ago that she’d be on medicine for the rest of her life!

Don’t underestimate the power of real food!

So Where Does Eating Gluten-free Fit In?

My road to becoming gluten-free was an unusual one. As I said earlier, I don’t have celiac and I’ve never had a doctor tell me that I needed to be gluten-free. was about two years old and I was constantly getting requests for gluten-free recipes. (This was after I’d written my first book, and to be honest I thought at the time that adding “OR gluten-free flour blend” to a gluten-free recipe was enough to make it work. It’s not.)

I’d been having stomach problems for years, despite the fact that I ate fairly healthy. After hearing about the book Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, by William Davis, I decided it was worth a read. I read it on a road trip from Arizona to visit family in Texas, and was struck by the fact that the modern wheat that we eat today barely resembles what my great-grandmother ate. This, thanks to major genetic modifications that happened in the 1960s and 1970s. According to author William Davis, M.D., “You cannot change the basic characteristics of a plant without changing its genetics, biochemistry and its effects on humans who consume it.” Davis believes that today’s wheat is causing all sorts of health problems in those that eat it—and not just those that suffer from the serious disease celiac. Some of these health problems include acid reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, skin disorders, asthma, and obesity.

Could this be the issue with my stomach? Or why my weight loss had finally stalled?

After talking it over with my husband, we agreed that the best thing for me to do was to remove wheat from my diet and see if I felt better.

It took me a couple of months to do this because for me, going gluten-free meant I also had to start blogging gluten-free. It kind of felt like a very public display of an entirely new way of eating—and one I wasn’t all that confident in.

A few weeks in, I felt a little bit better, but I wasn’t yet convinced that gluten-free was going to become a way of life for me.

It took a little more to convince me…

One day I was baking cookies for the boys. The recipe I was using was my own and it called for almond meal. I was short by ¼ cup and the easy solution was to substitute wheat flour. The kitchen was a mess at the time because I’d been cooking half the day and I ended up knocking the open bag of flour onto the counter, spilling it everywhere. Luckily it was right next to the sink, so I just used my hand to scoop the flour into the sink. About that time, I started sneezing so my flour-covered hand went up to my face in a natural reaction. I thought nothing of it.

About thirty minutes later, I was sitting outside with my husband and he asked me if I was feeling okay. At first I wasn’t sure why he was asking, but then I noticed my face was hot and my hand was itchy. Both my face and the hand I used to clean up the flour were bright red, a little swollen, and itchy.

At first I was worried that my blood pressure was high again. It wasn’t. Could it be a reaction to wheat?

I didn’t want to believe it. Call it pride, call it fear of hypochondria, call it….whatever. I couldn’t believe that I was one of those people who was impacted by wheat. It was fine that so many of my readers were gluten-free. I loved the challenge of gluten-free baking and I even planned on continuing to develop recipes that were gluten-free.

I just didn’t want to have to BE gluten-free.

It took a little more convincing. There were several times after having been off gluten that I unknowingly had something with gluten in it and found myself sick. Although I knew that there was something to it for me, I still found myself wondering just how long I’d stick with it.

One day, after about two months off gluten I found my husband staring at me as if he was seeing me for the first time in a long while. I asked him what he was looking at and his reply shocked me. “I think there may be something to the whole gluten-free thing for you. You’ve lost more size around your middle than you did the entire time you were doing P90x.”

This struck me for two reasons.

One, hubby isn’t big on the fake compliments. I am someone who can go weeks without really looking at myself and his comment caused me to stop and look. Strangely, I could see what he was talking about. I weighed myself and discovered that I’d unknowingly dropped eight pounds—all of them seemingly from my middle.

And secondly, he is the world’s biggest skeptic on diet trends. Though he saw merit in the whole wheat is not what it used to be argument, he was also very fearful that I was “creating” a condition for myself. If he was convinced there was something to it for me, I had to examine why it was that I was struggling so hard to accept that this was, like eating real food, what was best for me.

I wish I could say that this was the end of me “testing” gluten in my diet, but sadly I’m just too stubborn. At the end of the first trimester of this pregnancy I found myself too tired to cook. Slowly, gluten began to creep into my diet. My weight quickly shot up (prior to this point I hadn’t gained any), my energy levels were at an all-time low and I was hopelessly miserable. Dense as I am, I failed to connect the dots.

Early in my third trimester my family members decided they wanted to go on a juice fast. Of course I couldn’t participate, but I did want to do something to make an effort to be healthier. I decided that something would be getting back on the gluten-free bandwagon.

After about five days, it was as if a fog began to lift. Again, I didn’t want to admit it but the truth was that my energy levels were up during a time in pregnancy when they should have been falling. For the first time in months, I was able to work again. My rapid weight gain stalled though baby has continued to grow. With my productivity soaring, I began to think and dream about the future—one I then knew would not include gluten.

Quinoa Nutrition

People who try quinoa for the first time often do so because they have been told that it is a nutritious (and gluten-free!) food that they should be including in their diets. Let’s take a look at just what makes quinoa a “super food”.

The Perfect Protein

Most people know that quinoa is rich in protein, but what is important to understand when you are talking about quinoa is that it isn’t the quantity of protein that matters. (Although eight grams of protein per serving for a plant-based food is strong.) There are plenty of vegetarian foods that are rich in protein. Both wheat and oats have almost as much protein as quinoa.

Quinoa’s nutritional significance is more about the quality of the protein than the quantity.

The reason that quinoa is so important is because it is a perfect protein—often called “complete.” It contains all nine of the amino acids that we need for health. This is especially important to vegetarians and vegans, who in the past were encouraged to combine foods to meet their nutritional needs (a practice we now know is not necessary).

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, the protein content of quinoa is equivalent in quality to that found in dehydrated whole milk. The UN states that quinoa is “the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins and contains no gluten.”

More than Just Protein

The health benefits of quinoa go way beyond just the exceptional protein content. It is rich in enzymes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. When you compare quinoa to corn, wheat, or barley, it is higher in calcium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. Here are a few other things to know about quinoa nutrition.

• Phytonutrients and antioxidants are believed to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

• Quinoa is especially rich in manganese, which is known to activate enzymes for the metabolism of cholesterol and carbohydrates. It is also a great antioxidant that can help your body eliminate toxins.

• It is a good source of magnesium, which helps to relax blood vessels and muscles. This may be helpful for those with both migraines and high blood pressure.

• The fiber content of quinoa can help to tone your colon and is believed to work as a prebiotic, feeding microflora to your intestines.

• Most grain foods are very acidic, which is believed to cause health issues. (This is why we hear so much talk about following an Alkaline diet.) Quinoa is considered neutral, and is a good alternative for those who are concerned about a candida yeast overgrowth. Grains feed yeast and in some individuals can cause a systemic fungal infection with numerous health implications. This isn’t an issue with quinoa.

A Look at Quinoa as Compared to Other Grains

Source: Wood, R.T., “Tale of a Food Survivor: Quinoa,” East West Journal, April 1985, pp. 64–68.

Here is a complete breakdown of the nutritional value of 1 cup of cooked quinoa:

Source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23 (2010),

Get to Know Quinoa

Although the South Americans have been cooking quinoa for centuries, unless your parents were more than a little progressive in the culinary sense, chances are it isn’t a food that you grew up eating. Since the 1980s, it has slowly but surely been gaining popularity in North America and other parts of the world.

At first it was simply a go-to protein source for vegans and die-hard health buffs. These days, however it is trending toward mainstream. It is not uncommon to find quinoa in the gluten-free or health food section of your grocery stores and you can even find it on the menu of healthier dining establishments.


It’s hard to get to enthusiastic about a food that you don’t even know how to pronounce. Before we go on to talk about just what quinoa is, let’s get that out of the way.

The correct way to say quinoa is “KEEN-wah.”

What is quinoa?

Chenopodium quinoa is a member of the goosefoot family. Although you often hear it referred to as a grain, this is actually incorrect.

Quinoa is a seed that is related to plants like beet, chard, spinach, and the edible weed lamb’s-quarter. Although the leaves can be eaten in the same way that you can eat spinach or chard leaves, it is the seeds that we commonly refer to as quinoa. If you were to classify quinoa, the correct classification is a pseudo-grain, that is, a non-grain that is treated like a grain in cooking.

One of the best things about quinoa is that it is non-GMO and has not been hybridized. In a world where GMOs should be a major concern for all of us, quinoa’s purity makes it an attractive, staple part of our diets.

Can I grow quinoa?

Really, that depends on where you live.

Quinoa thrives in sandy alkaline soil that is generally considered poor for most crops. It loves high elevation and tolerates both freezing and the sun. The reason it is so frost resistant is the size of the germ, which is much larger than other grains (though remember, it isn’t a grain).

Quinoa is native to Peru and Bolivia, but in the last twenty years, quinoa has been grown in many countries. It is now grown in Colorado and Canada, but a large portion of commercially available quinoa is still imported from South America. You see yellow quinoa most of the time, but red and black quinoa is also sold. There are actually some 1,800 varieties of quinoa!

History of Quinoa

Quinoa has an interesting and colorful history. It has been called many things including the “mother grain of the Andes,” “Incan Gold,” and “the mother of all grains.” It is believed that quinoa has been cultivated since 3,000 BC in the high Andes Mountains.

In the time of the ancient Incas, quinoa was considered a sacred food. They referred to quinoa as la chisaya mama or “the mother grain.” It was considered particularly important for pregnant and nursing mothers, as it was believed to improve milk supply.

Quinoa was the main component of the Andean diet, with animal protein falling into a secondary role. It is no surprise that a pound of seeds was enough to feed an Andean family of ten for a year on just one acre of land! Each growing season, the leaders would sow the first seeds with a golden trowel and prayers would be said for a good season. Armies would march for days with nothing more than “war balls” made up of quinoa and fat to sustain them.

The Fall of Quinoa

With the rise of the Spanish rule, the popularity of quinoa fell. The Spanish were not fond of quinoa and referred to it as “Indian food.” They much preferred their own white rice. They also realized that quinoa gave the Incas strength, so they burned the quinoa fields and made it illegal to grow quinoa. As the act was punishable by death, the only place that quinoa survived w


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