That dull, old butter knife has no place on your perfectly-arranged cheese plate. If you’re big on entertaining, you’ll want to invest in some cheese knives (good news: you can usually find them in sets). We’ve laid out four must-have cheese knives below. Each style is meant for a specific cheese style. Paired correctly, the right cheese knife will help you maximize the flavor and portions of your favorite cheese. (Then, once you’ve got the right knives, learn how to cut those wedges and wheels.)
Drag the plane across the cut face of the cheese to shave off thin, even slices. A thinner slice exposes a greater amount of surface area to the air; the result is more flavor from the cheese. You use a cheese plane for firmer cheeses presented in broad wedges, such as Gruyère and Manchego.
Cheese Cleaver or Wedge
This tool has a pointed or flat head. Use it to slice or break off shards from dense, hard cheeses like aged cheddar and gouda.
Also known as a skeleton knife, the holes in this knife’s blade minimize the surface area that makes contact with the cheese. This prevents cheese from sticking to the knife as it is cut and served, making for a cleaner, more attractive presentation with less waste left on the blade. It’s ideal for soft, creamy cheeses like brie.
Ideal for chèvre, ricotta, and other soft, rindless cheeses with a spreadable consistency, you can also use this knife for butter or cream cheese.
Adapted from Cheese for Dummies, written by culture co-owner Thalassa Skinner and contributing editor Laurel Miller.