This book is available only in Japanese.
WARNING! This book may cause extreme hunger if read on an empty stomach!
In my opinion, one of the joys of life is eating dessert! And because my favorite dessert just happens to be cheesecake, I had to read this book, with its title easily translated into English as “A Cheesecake Journey”. Yuriko Yamamoto is a graduate of the Kagawa Nutrition University who moves to Paris and continues her studies at the prestigious Ritz Escoffier School and Le Cordon Bleu. There she receives Le Grand Diplome, and continues to hone her skills at Michelin three- star restaurants and hotels. Having spent many years living in France, Yuriko has the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. Although she always assumed that cheesecake was an American dessert, as she journeys to different countries, she finds that almost every country has their own style of cheesecake and cheese-filled desserts.
First she takes us to the country where cheesecake originated – Greece. It may come as a shock to us Americans, but the first mention of cheesecake in history was served to the athletes in the first- ever Olympic games, long before our nation was even considered a country. There elderly Greek women tell Yuriko that if she wants cheesecake in Greece, she should come three weeks before Apokries (Carnival) in which the third week is called “Cheese Week”. Before leaving Greece, Yamamoto purchases a book and reads that in Crete, they make a cheese similar to the ricotta cheese of Italy and that they also make cheesecake there as well. Perhaps Crete should be her next destination, she decides.
However, instead she finds herself traveling through the Russian Federation and Central and Eastern Europe. This is where the heart of the book truly shines as she features full color pictures of the cheesecakes and cheese- related desserts she comes across.
This book reads more like an illustrated guide to the cheesecakes of Europe. We are introduced to the Polish sernik polski, the Bulgarian banitsa, Russian blinisand paskha, Austrian topfenrouladen, just to name a few—including dishes made with the dessert cheese,mascarpone. And of course, since Yuriko lived in France, much of her book is filled with recipes from that country.
Once you’ve had your fill of this book, you may want to treat yourself to a nice big slice of New York- style cheesecake, perhaps with a raspberry or blueberry sauce topping. As for me, well, there is the “Cheesecake Factory” in my neighborhood that features an all-you-can-eat buffet…of cheesecakes! I kid you not. There goes my diet. Ernie Hoyt