10 geeky cheese rules for the perfect cheeseboard
Written by the expert and completely food-obsessed team behind this website, our social channels and our monthly magazine.
Do you cut the ‘nose’ off the gently oozing brie? Use the stilton knife to cut the goat’s cheese? Here’s how to get your cheeseboard right – and take another step towards cheese geekery, says Patrick McGuigan.
Pity the poor cheese fiend at Christmas (me!) who has to watch his family butcher the exquisite cheeses he’s lovingly laid out for their delectation. Rinds are hacked, honey is drizzled where it shouldn’t be and a there’s a blizzard of cracker crumbs.
While the devastation may induce an occasional wince, I (almost) always keep my counsel. Life is too short to worry about cheeseboard etiquette, especially after a few glasses of Port! But if you really want to know the do’s and don’ts of the board, here are my 10 golden rules.
- DON’T serve cold cheese
Cold suppresses flavour, so get your cheeses to room temperature before serving. The flavour really opens up.
- DO mix it up
There’s an old cheesemonger’s saying: something old, something new, something stinky, and something blue. In other words, variety is a virtue.
- DON’T drink red wine
Controversial opinion incoming! Red wine is the default choice for cheese because it’s usually what’s open at the end of a meal. But here’s the thing: tannins in red wine don’t get along with many cheeses. The refreshing acidity of white wine is a better bet.
- DO use separate knives
If you cut into a whiffy washed rinder, then dig into a dainty goat’s cheese with the same knife, you cross-contaminate the cheese with moulds, yeasts and strong flavours. Don’t be that person.
- DON’T cut the nose off a wedge
A cheese will taste remarkably different at the centre than at the rind. Lop the tip off a…