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Episode 4 – Books & cheese

Harper & Blohm

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Cheese is one of my favourite things in life, it is my personal elixir, and a good cheese shop is one of my favourite places in the world to be. So it was with a great amount of joy that I entered my local specialty cheese shop, Harper & Blohm, to chat with cheesemonger Olivia about that most wonderful, delicious, storied and historic dairy product!

The cheese and the books: 

Le’Etivaz – slightly smoky, semi-hard, unique

Less by Andrew Sean Greer – Arthur Less is a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: his boyfriend of the past nine years is engaged to someone else. He can’t say yes–it would be too awkward–and he can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On his desk are a series of invitations to half-baked literary events around the world. Arthur decides to accept every single one and embarks on a whirlwind tour of mishaps, missteps and misunderstandings. With nuggets of deliciousness strewn throughout this is a scintillating satire, a bittersweet romance and a unique look at our shared human comedy.

Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino – An enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly in a culture that revolves around the self. This collection of essays and observations is smart, sassy, smoky, unique and bold.

Epoisses de Bourgogne – pungent, sticky, smooth, velvety, meaty

Perfume: the story of a murderer by Patrick Suskind is the story of infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. Born in the slums of eighteenth-century France with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell – but with no scent of his own. An intense reading experience for the senses. Definitely pungent, meaty, smooth, velvety, intense and odd … not for all tastes.

Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman is the story of a woman who struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. A nice contrast for this cheese – it is dry, salty yet sweet and quite warm at heart.

Colston Bassett Stilton – rich, buttery, tang, mellow, fruity, savoury

The museum of modern love by Heather Rose is a mesmerising literary novel about a lost man in search of connection – a meditation on love, art and commitment, set against the backdrop of one of the greatest art events in modern history, Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present. A weirdly beautiful, artistic tale … salty, savoury, with a long finish.

The art of racing in the rain by Garth Stein details the life of Enzo the dog  on the eve of his death. Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast.  A rich, creamy, complex and mellow read which will linger long after you’ve finished it.

Harper & Blohm Specialty Cheese Shop

365 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 3056
Victoria, Australia

03 9381 0764
[email protected]

Literary Elixirs is recorded live in a noisy world.

Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.