There are some who will tell you that cheese should be reserved for special occasions. Those people are probably well meaning and also misinformed. Cheese is perfect any time, but if you need a reason then the Winter Olympics are coming up soon and cheese is good fuel for watching Canadian athletes kick butt.
I’m not going to lie, there’s a right way and a wrong way to serve and store cheese. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying or eating low fat cheese and we won’t discuss that here or ever. Cheese has come a long way in recent years. There are new and talented Canadian cheese makers in every province and our access to imported products makes a cheese lover’s heart melt. Many supermarkets now provide impressive varieties to choose from, and are willing to bring in different ones based on customer requests.
Before you head into the local cheesemonger, consider what you’ll need. The list is short and practical, so no need to worry that you’ll be spending a fortune on things you’ll rarely use.
Top 5 cheese picks for entertaining or to savour alone:
I’d make another list on how to serve the cheese, but I think it’s enough to respect a few basic rules. Any resemblance to a list is purely coincidental.
Keep the cutting board uncluttered and uncrowded. It’s best to buy 5 great cheeses (like the ones mentioned above) than to build a mountain and risk the flavours mingling. Likewise when decorating with fruit—although grapes are a great accompaniment, keep bunches small and to a minimum. We’re all here for the cheese anyway.
Serve cheese at room temperature.
Respect the form. That means cheese should be cut to retain its original shape. Round cheese—Brie, for example—is always cut in wedges, as are pyramid or cone-shaped cheeses. Rectangular cheeses, such as cheddars, should resemble rectangles as long as possible. Basically, serving cheese is like geometry class with less crying and more eating.
And on that note, never ever pre-cut cheese.
Be respectful and take your rinds with you. This point is directed at the cheese eating guests and is applicable if they are rind cutters.
Buying, eating, and serving cheese should not be intimidating despite these lists and rules. Eating cheese might be serious business, but there’s no need to be earnest about it. With a few gadgets and a simple shopping list, you’ll easily get into the groove.