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Sit back, relax, and get ready to hear a story. In The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese, Michael Paterniti takes the reader from a famous deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan to rural Spain on the trail of a famous piece of cheese. After completing an MFA from the University of Michigan - Storytelling School, as he calls it - Paterniti took the first job he could find: editing the popular newsletter of the world-famous Zingerman's Deli. The deli's owner travelled the world to find unique and flavorful artisanal fare for his loyal customers. One issue of the newsletter featured a piece on what the owner declared to be "The World's Greatest Cheese". This cheese, called Páramo de Guzmán, was produced in a small Spanish village in the Castile region of Spain. The cheese maker declared that the cheese was so good - and so expensive - because "it was made with love".
Paterniti was enchanted by the story of the cheese and years later, while on a writing assignment in Spain, sought out the village and the cheese maker to hear his story. What he found was a more than just a delicious cheese, but a village where life moves at a slower pace, a place where families maintain caves, called bodegas, where they age their cheese, ferment their wine, and get together to tell their stories.
This is not straightforward reporting, but rather a slow-moving and sometimes circuitous tale that will delight readers who enjoy books that take detours, such as the history of Medieval Spain or the processes involved in making great cheese. Along the way, the author and his family look to the village as an escape from the frenzied pace and endless demands of modern life.