There’s an art to cutting cheese – do it right and you’ll ensure the best taste in every slice.
Of course, the size and shape of your cheese will dictate how it is cut, but you’ll also need to bear in mind the texture. If you’re cutting a creamy cheese like Brie, you want to ensure everyone gets a bit of the centre. When it comes to firmer cheeses like Cheddar or Stilton, you’ll want to ensure they’re equally divided and that you’re not left with an odd-shaped wedge which is impossible to cut.
Of course, it certainly helps if you have the right cheese knife for the type of cheese you are cutting. Soft cheese knives are usually designed with holes in the blade to more effectively handle the gooey textures. A small Hatchet knife is great cutting hard cheese such as Gouda, Parmesan or mature Cheddar and a hard cheese knife will make light work of cutting a Double Gloucester or Red Leicester. A Stilton Scoop is perfect for scooping your Stilton out of one of our iconic Stilton Jars. Some cheeses even has their own special equipment such as a Cheese Curler for a Tete de Moine. Cheese knives can be bought individually or as sets - take a look at our cheese knife collection and utensils and tools.
Camembert, Reblochon, Selles sur Cher , Langres, Goddess, Fourme d’Ambert plus many of our soft cheeses or washed rind cheeses. Many of our individual cheeses are this shape. Cut a round cheese into equal wedges by slicing it first across the middle, then making further cuts across the width of the cheese. You will get more cuts out of the larger cheeses such as Reblochon compared to the smaller goats cheeses such as Selles sur Cher.
Hard Rinded Rectangular Cheese
Sharpham Rustic, Double Gloucester, Berkswell, Ticklemore, Gubbeen, Cheddar. To preserve the shape and the life of the cheese, slices should be cut lengthwise from the nose to the edge. Given that many of these cheeses are also irregular shapes, it also ensures that you, or your guests, don’t mangle the cheese or cut off their fingers.
Hard Rinded Rectangular Cheese
Gouda, Comte, Red Leicester . When handling a rinded, rectangular cheese, it’s best to avoid making long, thin slices. Instead, begin by making 2 portions by cutting the cheese horizontally, about a third of the way down. With the remaining larger portion, cut slices across the width of the cheese. From the smaller portion, cut slices along what would have been the length of the cheese when it was intact.
Soft triangular shaped cheese
Brie de Meaux, Stinking Bishop. Ideally everyone should get a piece of the ‘nose’ from a slice of Brie, but it’s not a practical way to cut this gooey cheese. Instead, take one slice from the nose, then you can make several long cuts from the edge towards where the nose used to be, ensuring everyone gets a bit of goo.
Pyramid or Square Cheese
Cerney, Dorstone, Pont L’Eveque Cut a pyramid or square cheese as you would a round cheese. So begin by slicing the cheese down the middle, then making a two further slices at 45° angles.
Wedge of Blue Cheese
Stilton, Shropshire Blue, Perl Las, Roquefort, Beauvale. The key is to ensure everyone receives an equal amount of ‘blueness’ in each slice. So make diagonal cuts at the two high corners and further cuts along the length of the cheese.
Aldwych, Ragstone, Bosworth Ash. Slice a log-shaped cheese horizontally to create several small ‘rounds’.
Rind - to eat or not to eat?
Once you have cut your cheese, you can then consider whether to eat the rind. The rind is the outer layer that forms on the cheese during the cheese-making process. There are three main types:
Bloomy rinds are white and soft and found on cheeses like Camembert or Brie. They form when cheesemakers spray an edible mould onto the cheese.
Washed rinds form when the cheeses are bathed regularly with a bacterial solution during the ageing process, found on cheeses like Stinking Bishop, Epoisses and Goddess.
Natural rinds form as a result of the temperature and humidity of the rooms where the cheeses are aged, found on cheeses like Parmesan and Stilton. A number of our traditional British territorial cheeses are wrapped with cloth once made. The cloth is removed once the cheese is ready to eat and the natural rind is left.
Whether you eat rind or not is purely a matter of personal preference – every cheese is different, as is everyone’s sense of taste. The rind on some cheeses, like Parmesan, is usually just too hard to be enjoyable, but we would suggest that for most cheeses, you simply give it a try.
We would also recommend you try a small piece of the cheese just underneath the rind as this is usually one of the most delicious parts.
However, eating cheese is about enjoying cheese, so eat what you want and leave what you don’t!