Cheese Cutting 101

It’s not always easy being cheesy. But a good cheese – and its complimentary wine – is one of the most important elements of any French meal. The French love of le fromage is legendary, and not just for its convenience as a delicious sandwich topping. With hundreds of different varieties served on boards for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, cheese is at the core of traditional French cuisine.

Speaking of varieties, famous French cheeses come in a wide range of types, tastes, and textures. If you want to enjoy them properly, you have to slice and serve them the right way. Proper cheese cutting isn’t just about presentation, but also ensures you present the perfect rind-to-paste ratio in every bite. The right way to cut depends on the shape and style of cheese you’re serving – hard or soft, wheels or rectangles, strong or subtle.

Soft Wheels (Camembert)

Soft cheeses like Camembert are typically sold as wheels that have a creamy inner paste and a bloomy outer rind. Think of cutting round cheeses as you would a birthday cake, starting in the center and cutting outward into even wedges. Work your way around the wheel in wedges that are approximately ½-inch at the outer edge. Each piece should have a nice blend of paste and rind to balance the cheese’s taste and texture.

Soft Wedges (Brie)

Brie is known for its mild buttery taste and spreadable gooey center. To highlight the best elements of brie, slice from the point to the rind in long, narrow sections of equal size and shape. Consider using a cheese knife with holes to help reduce drag as you cut. Slice off the tip or serve it as-is; the nose is known to hold the most classic brie flavor.

Semi-Hard Wedges (Comte)

Semi-firm cheeses like Comte should be cut widthwise into long, parallel slices. Starting with a large wedge, make horizontal cuts from the center edge until the last outer strip, which should then be halved. You can then choose to remove the rind or leave it intact.

Hard Rounds (Gouda)

Hard cheeses like Gouda and Parmigiano-Reggiano are often sold in rounds. The key is to use a sharp knife to cut these cheeses into thin slices or shards. They can also be served in irregular chunks, which brings out the rugged and robust flavors of these aged varieties.

Log-Shaped Cheeses (Aged Goat Cheese)

Aged goat cheeses are often sold in a log shape, which makes cutting a breeze. Simply make horizontal cuts down the length of the log to create thin “rounds” that look like coins or medallions. Try to slice down evenly for a clean cut and avoid sawing back and forth.

No matter how you slice it, a tasty cheese board just can’t be beat. If you’re ready to put your cutting skills to the test, pop into The Pantry to pick up a spread of quality Boar’s Head cheeses in a variety of flavors. You can even purchase a selection of charcuterie to create a board worthy of a gourmet bistro. Don’t want to create your own? Order one of our chef-curated Cheese + Charcuterie boxes to go. Now it’s time to get slicing and enjoy the fruits–or in this case, cheeses–of your labor!

Chef David Pan
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Orange Beach Concierge was born out of our love of hosting a great party, event planning and everyday organization combined with Chef David’s drive and desire to be the very best at his culinary craft. We are an Alabama gulf coast-based boutique concierge service offering highly personalized services.