Like layer cake, the texture and flavor of a wheel or a piece of cheese varies throughout. The flavor is likely more intense near the rind, and the texture there will be different from that in the center of the wheel. These contrasts heighten with age. For the sake of fairness, there is a courteous and practical rule to cutting cheeses that results in a democratic distribution of both the rind and the interior of the cheese.
Although many cheeses are round or wheel-like, the following diagrams show how to cut different-shaped cheeses or wedges so that each portion offers the same gustatory experience.
Cheeses with a firm or hard paste (interior)
e.g. Cheddar, Comté, Manchego
Very small cheeses
e.g. Cabécou, Crottin, Bijou
Pyramid or cone-shaped cheeses
e.g. Piper’s Pyramide, Sumi, Valençay
Small square cheeses
e.g. Hudson Valley Camembert, Pont l’Évêque
Cheeses with a soft paste (interior)
e.g. Brie, Les Frères, St. Nectair
Cylindrical or log-shaped cheeses
e.g. Buche, Classic Blue Log, St. Maure
e.g. Camembert, La Tur, Red Hawk
e.g. Gorgonzola, Point Reyes Blue, Roquefort, Stilton
Cheeses in a wooden box
e.g. Epoisses, Vacherin Mont d’Or
The suggested way to serve cheeses in a box:
- With a small, sharp knife, insert the blade just through the top rind (about a quarter inch shy of the circumference).
- Cut a circle in the rind, effectively making a “lid.”
- Gently remove the “lid” and put it aside, wrapped in parchment paper or cling wrap. (Do not discard.)
- You will be left with the wonderful gooey center of the cheese that you can then spoon out as needed.
- If there is any cheese remaining at the end of the feast, then replace the rind “lid.” This will help preserve the cheese and keep it moist.