Bronwen and Francis Percival discussing: “Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese”


Attention cheese lovers, locavores, foodies and culinary historians!

The Wilton Historical Society presents a book talk and artisanal cheese tasting

Bronwen and Francis Percival discussing:
“Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese”


“Like almost everyone I know, I consider myself a lover of cheese, but this book sparked a deeper passion . . . Stunningly rich and detailed, funny, fascinating, political, but not for a moment dull or overwhelming. Essential reading for anyone who enjoys cheese but has perhaps never considered its value, its meaning, or its potential.” So says James Hoffmann, author of The World Atlas of Coffee, about newly released Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese by Bronwen and Francis Percival. The Wilton Historical Society will be welcoming the Percivals as they talk about their new book, offering their perspective on cheese making today. Complementing the talk – a spread of fine artisanal cheeses for tasting!

In little more than a century, industrial practices have altered every aspect of the cheese making 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.

“Reinventing the Wheel is a cheese love story that’s so well told you won’t be able to put it down. If you are even half as fascinated by cheese, culinary history, and good stories as I am, this will be the most compelling book you read this year.”—Ari Weinzweig, cofounder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses 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.

Wilton Historical Society Members: $30; Non-members $40. Includes one copy of Reinventing the Wheel, plus artisanal cheese sampling.

To reserve your copy of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese for the event, please click on the buttons below:


Members – Reserve your book here

Non-Members – Reserve your book here

Sponsored by Fairfield & Greenwich Cheese Company: