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Cheese Boards, Plates and Platters All Require the Right Tools

There are a pair methods to go about making a bountiful, photogenic, or simply plain scrumptious cheese plate. Do you narrow cheeses into portion-sized wedges and layer them on a board with candy and savory accompaniments? Do you’re taking a extra interactive strategy and set complete chunks of cheese on the board with knives or wires so visitors can reduce to their liking? (That’s assuming the cheeses truly make it onto a plate earlier than you eat them proper out of the fridge.)

Whichever the tactic, having the fitting instruments, particularly knives, issues. Cheesemongers say utilizing the right {hardware} may help protect the optimum look, texture, and even style of your cheeses — and it may very well be the elusive key to Instagram cheese plate influencer stardom (sure, it’s an actual factor).

Essentially the most basic tip: Get instruments for cheeses you truly prefer to eat, says Julia Hallman, the final supervisor of Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “The worst thing you can do is have something sit in your drawer unused,” she says. “It’s just the same as having a piece of cheese in your fridge uneaten — it’s sad!” Right here’s the place to start out procuring, in accordance to a couple professional cheesemongers.

A chef’s knife for agency cheeses

For slicing nutty goudas and alpine cheeses like Gruyere into simply snackable items, a pointy chef’s knife is a must have. In the event you’re shopping for one particularly for cheese functions, Hallman recommends an offset knife — one the place the whole blade is ready decrease than the deal with, so you’ll be able to slice straight down with out your hand hitting the board — equivalent to this (admittedly dear) one, made by the Saladini household, that Formaggio imports from Italy. A extra reasonably priced one from Swissmar will even do the trick.

Alternatively, in case you’re setting out giant wedges of onerous cheese for visitors to chop themselves, go the unexpectedly hardcore route with a cheese cleaver from Boska, a quintessential cheese knife model. The cleaver is a favourite device for Janee Muha, a cheesemonger at DeLaurenti Meals and Wine in Seattle. “They’re kind of intense, but they’re [tiny],” she says.

Cutout images of three cheese knives on colorful background
From left to proper: Swissmar knife for onerous cheese, Boska cheese hatchet, Boska comfortable cheese knife

A brie knife for comfortable, gooey, or sticky cheeses

A good rule of thumb for slicing comfortable cheeses: the much less floor space of the blade, the higher. Hallman recommends a skinny knife that’s slender or has holes, each of which protect the construction of the cheese moderately than smearing it or pulling the wheel out of practice. Listening to temperature can even provide help to get cleaner cuts. “With soft cheese, cut that right out of the fridge,” so it higher retains its form, says Marty Mundy, a touring cheesemonger based mostly in Kittery, Maine.

Kara Chadbourne, the final supervisor of American Provisions in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood (Disclosure: I work on the South Boston location of American Provisions, and Chadbourne is my former supervisor), has a a presentation tip for comfortable cheeses: She recommends slicing the primary slice of soft-cheese wheels out as a information for visitors, earlier than serving it on the plate alongside both a Laguiole brie knife or butter spreader. “I’ll cut a little wedge… so folks know, ‘Oh! I can eat the rind!’” she says.

A parm knife for onerous cheeses

Fairly than slicing, use a parmesan knife (often known as a grana knife or an almond knife, for its form) to interrupt off craggy chunks of onerous cheeses. “What you actually want to do is stab the cheese and you twist,” Hallman says. This preserves the pure, uneven construction of the curd, which Chadbourne says is the cheesemaker-approved strategy to serve cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, and cheddar.

A harp or lyre for crumbly cheeses

In the event you’re debating shopping for a countertop cheese wire on your kitchen, Hallman says: Skip it. “In the event you actually love these comfortable goat cheeses and blue cheeses, what I would advocate getting is a harp,” she explains, which is a handheld wire strung between the 2 ends of a wishbone-shaped deal with and is less complicated to wrangle than its clunky countertop cousin. As a result of it has even much less floor space than a brie knife, you’ll be able to push it straight down by way of delicate, crumbly cheeses with out decreasing them to bits.

Cheese Boards, Plates and Platters All Require the Right Tools 1
From left to proper: Wire cheese slicer, Swissmar onerous cheese knife, Laguiole comfortable cheese knife

A girolle for high quality shavings

Alton Brown, in case you’re studying this, shut your eyes for a second, as a result of I want to speak a few unitasker.

The girolle exists for the singular goal of shaving the Swiss semi-firm cheese tête de moine into ultra-thin rosettes and makes for a novel interactive addition to your cheese board. The small cylindrical wheel of cheese is impaled on the girolle’s central spire, and a rotating blade grazes the floor — assume a cheese aircraft meets potato spiralizer. The outcome resembles feathery, crumpled tissue paper. “The lighter texture lets the flavors hit lighter on your palate,” says Chadbourne.

Small bowls and spreaders for accoutrements

An Instagram-worthy cheese board wants extra than simply cheese. A very important a part of your arsenal must be small bowls, spoons, and spreaders for accoutrements like fruit preserves, nuts, and olives, so you’ll be able to maintain them separated on the board. “I’m all about any of the 2-ounce-or-under bowls you can find,” Muha says. Plus, the butter spreaders that Chadbourne recommends for serving comfortable cheeses can come in useful for jams and honey.

For Hallman, the worth of protecting elements separated is that it permits visitors to assemble their very own chunk. “People are not going to follow a particular order,” she says. “They’re going to just go at it. And that’s the point. Everything needs to be complementary.”

And naturally, a board

The inspiration of any good cheese board is — you guessed it — the board. Mongers advocate contemplating your presentation technique when selecting one out. “Slate is a beautiful option if you want to have pre-cut pieces of cheese that people can just pick up, but not as ideal if you want [your guests] to cut,” Hallman says, as a result of it will probably injury each the knife and the board. “That’s why, generally, I want picket boards.”

Alternatively, if aesthetics are the precedence, Chadbourne recommends the slate boards from Brooklyn Slate Co., which she finds to be cheaper, lighter, and extra visually putting than wooden. “Anything you set on a dark surface is going to just pop by natural contrast,” she says.

Cheese curler and two cheese boards cut out and pasted on colorful background
From left to proper: Boska girolle, John Boose picket board, Brooklyn Slate Co. slate board

Bonus: The oven

Sure comfortable French or French-style cheeses, like Saint-Marcellin or St. Albans, are available small ceramic crocks. Phrase to the clever: “If you put cheese in the oven for a little bit, especially these small, softer rounds, it’s a whole new world,” Hallman says. The flavors develop and the feel turns into paying homage to heat fondue. Then, as soon as all you could have left is the container, these little guys make the right accoutrement ramekins.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These don’t affect editorial content material, although Vox Media could earn commissions for merchandise bought through affiliate hyperlinks. For extra info, see our ethics coverage.


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