In the fall of 1991, at Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michael Paterniti encountered a piece of cheese. Not just any cheese. This was Paramo de Guzmán, a rare Spanish queso, which – according to the deli’s newsletter – was one of the most sought-after delicacies on earth. Prized by presidents and kings, heralded for its rustic beauty and made from the milk of churra sheep, the cheese was submerged in olive oil and aged for a year in a cave, known as “a telling room,” where it gained magical qualities--if you ate it, some said, you might recover long-lost memories. In the course of writing The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World's Greatest Piece of Cheese ($27.00), Paterniti discovers that the story of this cheese is nothing like the idyllic slow-food fable he first imagined. Instead, he’s sucked into the heart of an unfolding mystery, a blood feud that includes accusations of betrayal and theft, death threats, and a murder plot. As the village begins to spill its long-held secrets, Paterniti finds himself implicated in the very story he is writing.
Michael Paterniti is the New York Times bestselling author of Driving Mr. Albert: A Trip Across America with Einstein’s Brain. His writing has appeared in many publications, including the New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Harper’s, Outside, Esquire, and GQ, where he works as a correspondent. Paterniti has been nominated eight times for the National Magazine Award, and is the recipient of a NEA grant and two MacDowell Fellowships. He lives in Portland, Maine, with his wife and their three children.
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