- Remember that natural cheese is a living organism, with enzymes and bacteria that need air and moisture to survive. Thus, re-wrapping the cheese in paper and then in plastic wrap to create a micro-environment for the cheese is the preferred storage treatment.
- Always re-wrap cheese in fresh wrapping, preferably in waxed or parchment paper, to avoid having the cheese dry out or pick up other flavors
- Store cheese in a refrigerator drawer where the temperature is cold and stable.
- Double wrap strong, pungent cheeses, such as blue, or washed rind varieties, to avoid having their aromas permeate other foods.
- Cold temperature hinders the natural flavors and fragrance of the cheese. Plan ahead by taking your cheese out of the fridge at least half an hour before serving.
- When putting together a cheese board to be served before or after dinner, keep your cheese selection to around five different cheeses. Serve cheeses of different sizes, colors, shapes, and flavor or texture profiles to create diversity and add interest to your cheese board. Strong, pungent cheeses shouldn’t be placed next to delicately flavored cheeses.
- When designing a menu, consider when you want to serve cheese. Serving cheese after the main course, prior to or in place of dessert, adds an elegant touch to casual dinners. If served with cocktails before dinner, remember that cheeses can be filling. Serve in limited quantities and variety.
- Even modest cheese trays can be elegant when attention is given to the presentation. Try serving cheeses on a wooden board, marble slab, straw mat, or flat wicker basket. Do not overcrowd the serving tray, as your guests will need room to slice the cheeses. Serve bread and/or plain crackers on a separate plate, or in a wicker basket.
- Have different knives available for each cheese. Having a hard and soft cheese knife and cheese plane on hand will show your guests how much you really know about cheese.
- Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, fresh figs and melon add variety to a cheese board, especially if cheese is being served with cocktails. Additional accompaniments can include nuts, such as Marcona almonds, or any manner of condiments, such as local honeys, olive tapenades, jellies and spreads, or mustards.
- Leave The Rind On. Remember: most cheese rinds are technically edible — whether or not they are palatable is entirely up to the individual. *Exception: some hard and semi-hard cheeses (Gouda, Emmentaler and the like) can have an additional coat of wax, plastic or paraffin. This additional coating should be peeled away and discarded to expose the edible rind.
Using the leftover cheese ends and rind
Just because that piece of cheese looks a little old or you have eaten down to the rind already, doesn’t mean it is time to throw it away.
Below are some great uses for those cheese ends
- Fromage fort is the ultimate way of using leftover cheese – a cheese spread made from a pound of various leftover cheese pieces, butter, white wine, garlic and herbs (see details in our recipe page.)
- At the end of your wine-and-cheese parties, gather any leftovers to make an incredible mac and cheese later in the week.
- Make a cheese quiche – see details in our recipe page.
- Throw the rind into a slow cooking soup, stew, beans, or chili. Let it simmer away for anything from 20 minutes to a good hour or so. While the rind cooks it isn’t imparting a huge amount of cheesy taste, but it is giving your stew an injection of umami; that lip-smacking, oomph of savory flavour.