I still support the magazine industry, buying a fair share of them each month, and always on the look-out for new magazines. Recently at Barnes & Noble, I found a cheese magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, that was new to me, though the magazine was actually launched in December 2008. I think B&N just started carrying the magazine as I am sure I would have seen it before.
Now, I believe that Culture: The Word on Cheese has set the standard for cheese magazines. Culture has really impressed me and it was my favorite new magazine of 2009. So any other cheese magazines will obviously get compared to Culture. Can Cheese Connoisseur compete?
Like Culture, it is a slightly over-sized magazine but it is less expensive, costing $5.95. That does not make it a better value though because it is a significantly smaller magazine, having only 68 pages, which is at least 30 pages less than Culture. It is also a quarterly magazine.
Cheese Connoisseur is supposed to be a "lifestyle publication providing sophisticated, well-educated foodies and industry professionals" with information on cheese and related topics. Its readers are supposed to be upscale and affluent. Its website is a bit out of date, listing only the articles from their Winter 08/09 issue, which might have been their first issue. There is only online access to a single article. Culture's website is substantially better, with lots of accessible information and articles. And they keep their website very much up to date.
As for the magazine's articles, here is some of what is included: a profile of a Dallas cheesemaker; a brief profile of a Portland, Oregon cheese store as well as another cheese/wine/food shop; article on Champagne, including cheese pairing recommendations; a list of some of the publisher's favorite cheeses; a travel article on Parma, Italy with information on Parmigiano Reggiano cheese; articles about bacon, raw-milk cheese and olives; article on blue cheese dressing with a recipe; and an article on chocolate & cheese.
In general, the articles are well written, informative and interesting. There is a good variety of different topics, though I sometimes wanted the articles to be longer. The photography was ok, but not as compelling as that found within Culture. Overall, though I enjoyed the magazine, it did not overly impress me. It is a lesser sibling to Culture and may be a little pretentious at times. Cheese Connoisseur maybe should not take itself so serious and try to be more fun.