Cheese is one of the greatest foods on earth – almost all of us love it. Whether it’s a creamy brie or something a little more pungent, cheese is a treat many of us look forward to. So, here’s a guide to respect it and serve it properly.
Don’t Serve Cold Cheese
You should never serve cold cheese because the lower temperatures are going to hinder the natural flavor and fragrance of the cheese. It is important to plan ahead of time so you can take it out of the fridge and leave it for at least one hour.
Leaving the Rind On
Keep in mind that cheese rinds can be eaten – whether the cheese is palatable will depend on the individual. The exception to this is some semi-hard and hard cheese (Emmentaler, Gouda, etc.) that can sometimes be coated with plastic, wax, or paraffin. If this is the case, then you need to peel the coating and discard it, then you will see the edible rind.
Knowing Your Knives
Are you a fan of goat cheese that has the taste of gorgonzola? No, no one does. The standard is having one knife for each of the different portions of cheese. If you have a soft and hard cheese knife, it is a bonus for you. It is a good idea to get a set of cheese knives. Foodal have a good selection to choose from.
Properly Spacing Your Cheese
One mistake people make is trying to fit many pieces of cheese in one spread. When you do this, you are going to make it hard to cut it. This ends up being awkward. The maximum number is four, even if the platter you are serving on is large. Instead of doing that, just serve two smaller plates. This is true even if you are serving several types of cheddar cheese at your party.
Tricking Out Your Cheese Plate
Fine cheese can hold their own without the need for any accompaniments, but choosing the right one is important because it can either make or break the experience by amplifying the flavors. Butter (yes, you can have it on cheese), bread, raw vegetables, crackers, nuts, cured meats, fruit, and jams are some good examples of accompaniments you can use. You should try finding your “signature pairing” and see the look on people’s faces when they are taking a bite.
Buying Fresh Cut Cheese
When cheese is exposed to air, the flavors get diminished because the aromas diffuse very fast. If you are serving leftover cheese, you should trim away the outermost a quarter or half-inch carefully so you can expose fresher cheese.
Do not Store More Than One Cheese in a Baggie/ Container/ Wrap
You should buy a roll of cheese paper so you can use it in re-wrapping the remaining cheese. This is a good option because it allows the cheese to breathe while preventing it from spoiling quickly and also protects it from the other cheese around. If you plan on finishing it the next day or two, then you can use a plastic zip-top bag or even plastic. Cheese paper is the best option if you want your cheese to last for long.
Don’t Freeze Cheese
This is one rule that is taken very seriously when it comes to cheese. This is one commandment you should never break. Without using science to explain why this is a bad idea, here is a simple explanation. when the cheese is frozen, it loses the smell, flavor, and texture and you can end up with a mealy, gross, and dry version of the cheese.
Tips for Serving Hard Cheese
When serving a firm cheese such as Gouda or cheddar, let the cheese get to about 72 degrees Fahrenheit (room temperature) before you slice or serve it. This is done to make sure that the flavors become prominent.
The best place to serve cheese is on a marble or a cool and clean glass because you don’t want the cheese to pick the flavor of plastic or wooden boards.
Slice into bite sizes. If there is self-service, ensure you have provided a clean wire cheese or a narrow cheese knife.
Slicing the cheese beforehand will help keep things simple. Use something like a glass dome or even clear plastic to cover it to prevent the cheese from drying.
Remember to have tongs or toothpick for people looking for an easy grab.
Tips for Serving Soft Cheese
You should chill soft cheese such as paneer or chevre before you serve. This will make sure the cheese does not ripen or separate.
Use glass or non-porous containers to serve cheese. The perfect option is a small glass bowl because it is great for presentation and tasting.
When not being served, make sure the cheese is covered to keep it cool and keep out dust and bugs.
Accompaniments to Cheese
Some common options you can pair cheese with include bread, nuts, fruit, or honey. A common traditional treat is cheese and crackers, but when serving the cheese with beer or wine, replace crackers with bread. A warm and soft bread complements the wine or beer well because it has yeast. Bread like a sourdough baguette or ciabatta are great and can be torn to pieces smaller that the slices of cheese. Try out the different flavors then choose the one you like the most.
If you are going to use fruits as accompaniments, then go with apple and pear because they go will with mild hard and soft cheeses. If the cheese is strong, crumbly, and pungent, then go with fruits that have a stronger flavor e.g. peach pair and grape. You should not let the flavor of the fruits overtake the cheese, its work is adding or complementing it.
Nuts can be used on soft cheese and you can stir or chop into the cheese or thinly slice and serve on the side.
All of this will help ensure that your cheese is served in the appropriate way and will ensure that you enjoy it to the upmost.