George R. R. Martin wrote, “Give me a good sharp knife and a good sharp cheese, and I am a happy man.” No wonder cheese has been amongst the most well-savoured gourmet foods. There are a thousand varieties of cheese available around the world. And hence, there are a variety of different knives as well that are crucial in prizing those various amazing flavours stored in the cheese.
One must note that proper tools are necessary for cutting cheese, not just as a matter of style but also to preserve the cheese’s flavourful structure and composition. The formation of cheese is a lengthy process. A fromager(cheese merchant) has to have great patience to get the right taste through the magic of fermentation. There are various requirements one must follow to get the actual essence of cheese. The right kind of knife is something that you cannot miss out.
There is a wide range of knives to cut all the cheese varieties. However, a few essential knives can do a significant amount of cutting tasks.
- The spade or the flat knife- The flat knife has a flat blade structure with squared tips. It has a sharp blade that can cut off various types of hard cheese and semi-hard cheese varieties like semi-mature Pecorino, Swiss semi-hard blue cheeses, Provolone, and Comte. You must hold it vertically and push through the cheese block in one swift motion to use this knife.
- Narrow plane knife or the trapezium knife- This knife is also very versatile and is used for cutting various types of cheese. It is quite similar to the flat knife except that its ends are more tapered and more rectangular. It has two sharp sides instead of one, including both the short and long edges. It is suitable to cut semi-soft to hard varieties of cheese like Gouda, Cheddar and Jarlsberg. It is used for cutting and also for chipping away at the cheese block.
- Parmesan knife or small spade knife- The parmesan cheese knife has a distinctly pointed tip along with a short blade and a long sharp edge. It comes in different styles but is mainly used for breaking off chunks of various hard and dry cheeses which resemble the texture of Parmesan, Grana Padano and Castelmagno. The sharp edge is used to cut rinds open.
- Cheese Fork- A cheese fork is an ultimate tool that is mostly used to pick up cut pieces of cheese blocks. It is used for plating and serving cheese. It can also be helpful in breaking up blocks of old-age cheese into smaller chunks. It has two pointed prongs and is suitable for semi-soft to hard varieties of cheese. Feta, Cheddar, Provolone and Gouda are to name a few types which can be cut by the cheese fork.
Ellementry has a classic set of these essential four for all those who take their cheese seriously. The Cheesemate Brass Cheese Cutlery Set is a collection of beautifully designed cheese knives well-crafted for those special meals. Made of brass, they are easy to maintain. With their classic design, this handmade set of knives preserve the quality of cheese and adds unique aesthetics to your cheeseboard. Ellementry serves your needs with thoughtful proportions of craft and art, which aspire to fulfil your purpose with an added dose of exquisiteness.
Apart from these essential knives, it would help if you have other tools like a cheese wire and Laguiole Spreaders to perfectly enjoy your cheese board. It’s necessary to take care of all your knives and tools and by keeping them sharp and clean. It’s always better to wash them with your hands and to wipe the knife with a damp cloth between cuts to keep them clean. The knives can be sharpened at home or can be taken to a professional sharpener once a year. A sharp knife will prevent possibilities of tugging and pulling apart the cheese, which destroys the taste and texture of the cheese block.
Cutting cheese is also an art. Knowing the different types of knives can be more useful if you know how to cut your cheese. It is essential to respect the shape of your cheese. Cheese comes in different shapes like blocks, wedges or wheels, and they all have a different flavour. As per Eric Brazel, a fromager from Santa Monica, cheese is best served when they are cut into thin slices to know the actual taste and aroma. Here are some more points to note while cutting cheese-
- Cutting cheese blocks- A block of cheese is first supposed to be cut in half into two large rectangular pieces. One should cut along the width of these portions to get thin slices. Slices can also be cut diagonally to get a triangular shape.
- Cutting Cheese logs- Cheese logs are the easiest to cut by just slicing along the log’s length to create thin cheese discs.
- Cutting wheels- First cut the wheel into two manageable halves. One can further cut in a radial pattern to create thin cheese triangles. If you choose not to destroy the shape, locate the centre of the wheel and keep cutting out slices like taking spokes from the wheel.
- Cutting cheese wedges-
- Soft cheese wedges- Never cut off the tip or the cheese wedge’s nose as that is considered to be the most flavourful part of the cheese. It is also wrong to scoop out the soft cheese parts like brie. In case of a soft cheese wedge, you can cut long strip slices along the cheese’s edge.
- Hard cheese wedges- In the case of semi-hard to hard wedges, cut along the width edge unless you reach halfway up the wedge. Then you can cut along the long edge to get the top half of the wedge.
- Blue cheese wedges- For blue cheese, one can estimate the centre of the bottom edge and cut out in radial patterns to get triangular slices.
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There are various methods one can try on recommendations to make their meal experience better. Cheese is an experiment-oriented snack which should be enjoyed with its delicate nuances of flavours.
To have cheese, one must have the information on how to taste it through various senses of your palette. It’s good if you are conscious of the cheese, its ingredient, its history and its specific requirements if you want a wholesome experience with it. Splay out a delightful cheese board and layout your special cheese knives to have a warm evening full of flavours and conversations.