Learn to cut the cheese for tasting

Serving cheese deserves our full attention and for some people all devotion. Being knowledgeable and respecting notions is essential not only for aesthetics at the table but also from the taste and conservation of certain types of cheese.

The way you cut a piece of cheese is significant since the cheeses are different from each other. In some, there is the need in equalizing the rind and the paste. What we call paste is the whole content of the cheese separated from a thin to a rigid outer layer, which we call the rind or “shell” of the cheese.

In effect, the flavor of cheese is not the same in all its contents, varying as we get closer to the center or the surface next to the rind. This is very evident in the cheese with molds on the surface, the so famous “croûte fleuri” (Camembert and Brie) for example is a poetic expression that translates all the affection that the French have to this science and art.

The cheese is cut with knives that can vary in their size and appearance, depending on the type of cheese that we intend to cut. You should not use the same knife for different cheese on the same occasion so as not to “contaminate” the taste of one cheese with that of another.

For very soft, very hard, or very large cheese, unique instruments are used. They are different and suitable for each one of them. Fresh cheese, soft, and semi-hard cheese can be cut with a regular knife which should always be very well sharpened.

For semi-hard and hard cheese, a kind of spatula with a cross-sectional area can be used, which cuts the cheese easily into thin slices. For very hard cheese, small or medium cleavers are used to chip the cheese into small fragments making them easier to appreciate.

Extra hard cheese can still be grated for culinary use, the smaller and fine cheese being suitable for use at the table during the meal.

The pleasure of tasting a cheese consists of discovering all the sensations, knowing how to identify them, and recognizing the correct attributes for each type of cheese. In short, cutting a piece of cheese, or having a better understanding of how to cut the cheese, is an act that requires taste, knowledge, and art.

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