For Cheddar or WorseOccupation: Cheese Monger at Fromagerie Bessette

I love cheese. Especially cheddar cheese. There are so many varieties. From mild to sharp, smooth to gritty. Did you know that most cheddars start out white or pale yellow? Did you know Cheddar originated in the village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England? Cheddar Gorge, to be exact. It’s a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills near the village and is the site where Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton (Cheddar Man, about 9,000 years old) was found in 1903. How cool is that?? Jordan and I visited the area on our trip to Europe—you know Jordan and I got married, right? Anyway, the caves in the gorge provide ideal humidity and temperatures for maturing cheese. Jordan’s farm has caves created with the Cheddar Gorge in mind. Actually, Jordan used to own and operate the farm, but now his sister runs it; he’s moved in with me and started up a restaurant and, well, there’s so much for you to catch up on.

But, first, why am I waxing rhapsodic about cheddar cheese? Well, get this! We’re finally hosting a cheese festival in Providence. We—the town. It will run a whole week. Never one to shy away from setting up too many activities, my grandmother, the town’s mayor, has enticed a number of local restaurants to offer cooking classes or specialty dinners. She has also encouraged the farmers to hold creamery tours and wine tastings. Isn’t that fabulous? And we’re going to have a cheese competition. I’ll be one of the judges. Fun, right? The town’s bed-and-breakfasts and hotels are all booked!

Meanwhile, my friend Erin, who owns Emerald Pastures Farm is holding what she’s calling a cheese brain trust. She has invited about twenty people to participate, including a few cheese makers, distributors, journalists, Jordan, and me. Jordan is invited because he knows the art of affinage, which is the careful practice of ripening cheese (those caves I mentioned), and I’m tagging along because I understand the marketing side of cheese.

We’re going to be staying at the inn on the farm, which will be like a mini-vacation. Romance, cheese tasting, and no tension. Heaven! At least, I hope it will be heaven. Nothing should go wrong. There shouldn’t be any surprises. I really hate surprises, don’t you?

Except I did learn there is one surprise guest. She’s a cheese maven, and I’m a big fan of hers, but I hear some people are not so enamored with her. I hope everyone can be civil. I really want Erin to have a successful event. She’s such a good soul.

I shouldn’t be worried, right?

For Cheddar Or Worse is the seventh book in the “Cheese Shop” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, February 2016.

It’s time for the annual Cheese Festival in Providence, Ohio, and Charlotte Bessette’s cheese shop is packed with homemade specialties. Meanwhile, her friend Erin is prepping her dairy farm and inn for cheese makers, marketers, journalists, and one surprise guest—Lara Berry, pretentious cheese whiz, pompous bestselling author, and pungent critic whose extra sharp tongue can crumble a reputation.

Even though any love for Lara by her friends curdled long ago, Charlotte is surprised when the foodie is smothered to death in her room at Erin’s inn. Accusations start flying, but the one laying blame on Erin strikes Charlotte as a crock. Now, to clear her friend’s name, Charlotte has to sift through Lara’s ex-lovers, former business partners, and unforgiving enemies to find a killer before Lara’s past casts a tainted pall on the festival’s future.

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All comments are welcomed.

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About the author
Avery Aames is the nationally bestselling author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, won the Agatha Award for “Best First Novel.” Avery is the pseudonym for Daryl Wood Gerber. Daryl writes the nationally bestselling Cookbook Nook Mysteries. Daryl also created the format for the popular sit-com, “Out of this World” and has won awards for her screenplays. Both Avery and Daryl like to read, cook, and garden.

Visit Avery or Daryl at Avery & Daryl also blogs at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen – a blog for foodies who love mysteries.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a print copy of For Cheddar Or Worse. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 11, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

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