the appetizer:

Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager by Max McCalman and David Gibbons includes articles like Serving & Storing Cheese: Guidelines for Home; Organoleptic Profiling: Matching Cheese with Wine; and Tasting Plate: But There Are Swiss Cheeses.



Serving & Storing Cheese:
Guidelines for Home

by Max McCalman and David Gibbons


  • Never serve cheeses too cold; it masks all their wonderful flavors and aromas. This is the biggest mistake cheese novices make. In general, if they're in the fridge, give them at least 1 hour out of it to make sure they come to room temperature.
  • Blue cheeses may get bluer quite fast, so they can be given less than an hour out of the fridge before serving.
  • For soft, ripe, gooey, runny cheeses, provide a separate plate onto which they can melt and expand.
  • Sharp steak knives and/or small- to medium-sized kitchen knives are all you need to cut cheeses.
  • If you're using a board for cutting or presentation, be sure it is made out of an inert material: hardwood works well as do different types of nonreactive plastic and glass or stone surfaces.
  • Cut all cheeses fresh; don't precut.
  • Consider keeping separate knives and other utensils for each cheese or cheese type.
  • Keep utensils clean by wiping them with a clean cloth napkin or thick paper towel immediately after cutting each cheese.
  • Slice harder cheeses into smaller, thinner pieces.
  • Slice semisoft cheeses in long wedges.
  • Slice soft cheeses in shorter, thicker wedges.
  • Include a portion of the rind (if applicable).
  • Serve cheeses on dinner or salad plates with dinner knife and dinner (or salad or dessert) fork; add a spoon if they're gooey.
  • Rewrap cheeses as they were wrapped in the store, with semipermeable paper touching the cheese and plastic wrap encasing the package; use a zip-locking bag or some scotch tape if necessary.
  • Storing most cheeses, particularly firm to semisoft types, at cool room temperature conditions, away from any sources of heat or light, is fine for probably longer than you would imagine.
  • For refrigerator storage, treat your cheeses like bread or any other fragile food you don't want to dry out: Put them in the vegetable drawer—or perhaps the smaller cold-cuts tray—if possible alongside other foods that provide some moisture (vegetables and/or other cheeses).
  • from:
    Mastering Cheese
    Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager
  • by Max McCalman and David Gibbons
  • Clarkson Potter 2010
  • Hardcover, 384 pages; U.S. $40.00
  • ISBN-10: 0307406482
  • ISBN-13: 9780307406484
  • Reprinted by permission.

Buy Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager


Mastering Cheese


This page created April 2011

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