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Piece Maker

With the wedge lying on its flank, smaller triangular wedges emanating from the center-edge of the thinnest part of the cheese.

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.

Horizontally up the wedge with the final rind slice cut in two.

Cheeses with a firm or hard paste (interior)
e.g. Cheddar, Comté, Manchego

Radially from the center, into thirds or more.

Very small cheeses
e.g. Cabécou, Crottin, Bijou

Vertical wedges emanating radially from the apex.

Pyramid or cone-shaped cheeses
e.g. Piper’s Pyramide, Sumi, Valençay

Into smaller triangle wedges from the center.

Small square cheeses
e.g. Hudson Valley Camembert, Pont l’Évêque

Wedges cut into skinnier wedges, then per preference.

Cheeses with a soft paste (interior)
e.g. Brie, Les Frères, St. Nectair

Cut into rounds.

Cylindrical or log-shaped cheeses
e.g. Buche, Classic Blue Log, St. Maure

Radial wedges from the center

Small cheeses
e.g. Camembert, La Tur, Red Hawk

With the wedge lying on its flank, smaller triangular wedges emanating from the center-edge of the thinnest part of the cheese.

Blue-veined cheeses
e.g. Gorgonzola, Point Reyes Blue, Roquefort, Stilton

See notes below.

Cheeses in a wooden box
e.g. Epoisses, Vacherin Mont d’Or

The suggested way to serve cheeses in a box:

  1. With a small, sharp knife, insert the blade just through the top rind (about a quarter inch shy of the circumference).
  2. Cut a circle in the rind, effectively making a “lid.”
  3. Gently remove the “lid” and put it aside, wrapped in parchment paper or cling wrap. (Do not discard.)
  4. You will be left with the wonderful gooey center of the cheese that you can then spoon out as needed.
  5. 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.

Kate Arding

Kate Arding is an independent dairy consultant specializing in small-scale cheese production. She is also a co-founder of culture, the acclaimed first national consumer cheese magazine launched in December 2008. A native of Britain, Kate has worked in the farmhouse cheese industry for 18 years, firstly, as wholesale manager for Neal's Yard Dairy in London, where she developed extensive knowledge – and love – of the farmhouse cheese industry. In 1997 Kate moved to California to help establish Cowgirl Creamery and Tomales Bay Foods, a business modeled after Neals Yard Dairy but focusing on American artisanal and farmstead cheeses. Since 2003 Kate has worked extensively both in the United States and overseas as an independent consultant, specializing in affinage, sales and marketing, and helping small-scale cheesemakers adapt to changing market demands. Additionally, Kate is intrinsically involved with the day to day running of Culture magazine. Kate is lives in rural New York.

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