I’m now desperate to sneak a pouch of Brie into my husband’s carry-on when he heads to Beijing this week.
It was lunchtime, in a private room at the Xianheng Tavern, the most famous restaurant in the ancient Chinese city of Shaoxing. I opened the plastic boxes that I'd carried, sealed, all the way from London, and the stench of farmhouse cheeses began to waft across the room. The Chinese chefs and waiting staff seated around the table eyed them warily. Only two of the younger chefs had any cheese-related experience. None of the others, including the manager and executive chef of the Xianheng, Mao Tianyao, had tasted it in any form.