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'The Four Top': Bronwen Percival | Francis Percival | Christian Debenedetti


Episode 34 digs deep into issues affecting cheesemakers, brewers and winemakers. First: Most Americans would avoid eating any food if its label stated that it contained microbes or mold. And yet humans are the world’s biggest omnivores because we have outsourced our digestion to microbes. We discuss the new movement to embrace the M-words.

Comte cheese matures in a cellar.

Comte cheese matures in a cellar.

Barney Moss / Flickr

For our next course, is it time to say goodbye to Betty Crocker-style products that taste the same thanks to commercial yeasts? We look into the movement to collect yeasts from natural settings such as fruit trees and also allows fermentation to happen spontaneously in beer, wine and cheese.

Finally, we examine the political tensions felt in the progressive food movement. Rural dwellers in the UK are more likely to have voted for Brexit, yet the biggest market for British dairy farmers and cheesemakers is Europe. We untangle the relationship between politics, economics, and fancy food. 

Meet our panelists: Bronwen Percival is author of “Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese, an editor of the “Oxford Companion to Cheese” and the cheese buyer for Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. Her husband and co-author, Francis Percival, is the food editor and a columnist for The World of Fine Wine and, along with Bronwen, is a co-founder of the London Gastronomy Seminars. Christian DeBenedetti is author of the books “The Great American Ale Trail” and “Beer Bites.” He is also the founder and head brewer of Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery in Newberg. Our host is Katherine Cole.

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