top of page

reinventing the wheel. milk, microbes and the fight for real cheese

a book reading, discussion and reception

sunday october 15th 2017, 4:30 - 7 pm

roslindale congregational church, 25 cummings highway, roslindale

enjoy an evening in the company of world renown food experts, bronwen and francis percival, as they promote their newly launched book "reinventing the wheel. milk, microbes and the fight for real cheese". 


they will read select passages, and take part in an open discussion and question period pertaining to the fight for real cheese, led by adam of boston cheese cellar.

free registration is required, and on entry to the event, a $5 donation to the roslindale food pantry is suggested.


you can pre-order a author signed hardback copy of their book below.

reinventing the wheel

More details of the book:

In little more than a century, industrial practices have altered every aspect of the cheesemaking process, from the bodies of the animals that provide the milk to the microbial strains that ferment it.


Reinventing the Wheel explores what has been lost as raw-milk, single-farm cheeses have given way to the juggernaut of factory production. In the process, distinctiveness and healthy rural landscapes have been exchanged for higher yields and monoculture.


However, Bronwen and Francis Percival find reason for optimism. Around the world—not just in France, but also in the United States, England, and Australia—enterprising cheesemakers are exploring the techniques of their great-grandparents.


At the same time, using sophisticated molecular methods, scientists are upending conventional wisdom about the role of microbes in every part of the world. Their research reveals the resilience and complexity of the indigenous microbial communities that contribute to the flavor and safety of cheese.


One experiment at a time, these dynamic scientists, cheesemakers, and dairy farmers are reinventing the wheel.  

Bronwen Percival is the cheese buyer at Neal’s Yard Dairy in London. She initiated the biennial Science of Artisan Cheese Conference and is cofounder of the website In addition to serving on the editorial board of the Oxford Companion to Cheese, she recently edited an English translation of the leading French textbook on raw-milk microbiology for cheesemakers.


Francis Percival writes on food and wine for The World of Fine Wine and was named Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year in 2013 and Pio Cesare Wine and Food Writer of the Year 2015. His work has also appeared in Culture, Decanter, Saveur, and the Financial Times. Together with Bronwen, he cofounded the London Gastronomy Seminars.

praise for reinventing the wheel

“Reinventing the Wheel is a gift, a careful exploration of our shared history and the tension between progress, modernity, and tradition. The plumbing of emerging science and the articulation of the polemic of artisan food in an age of industrial agriculture is masterfully unpacked in this beautifully written book. Fundamentally, it is a book full of hope and the most exciting food writing I have experienced in years.”

Mateo Kehler, cofounder of Jasper Hill Farm and the Cellars at Jasper Hill

“This book hits the sweet spot for culinary lovers like me who find something universal in the story of cheese. The authors’ lively account of art and science working in tandem will appeal to aficionados of all things fermented. It was such a good read, I could not bear to finish it.”

Odessa Piper, founder of L’Etoile Restaurant, Madison, Wisconsin, and author of The Market Kitchen

“Reinventing the Wheel takes a tough, smart look at the global cheesemaking industry and offers up sage and sane ideas to take farmhouse cheese back to the future. The Percivals manage to dissect nearly every aspect of cheesemaking—from microbes to grass to animal breeds to the cheese house to the market forces that shape the cheesemaking industry—with a wit and intelligence that will tickle the intellectual appetite of cheese professionals the world over. Josiah Twamley would be proud.”

Anne Saxelby, founder of Saxelby Cheesemongers, New York

bottom of page