How to store and serve cheeses at home.

  • Storing Cheese:You may have noted that I have moved to wrapping the cheese in paper. British cheesemonger Patricia Michaelson writes that the best way to store cheese is in waxed paper, which allows it to breathe but not dry out entirely. Once you get it home, the ideal way to store it is inside a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid. Spread a damp dishtowel or cloth in the bottom, put the individually wrapped cheeses on top, and add a few sugar cubes, which will help distribute humidity, prevent the growth of undesirable bacteria, and hold back oxidization. Ideally, you should put blue cheeses in a separate container, as the molds can spread easily in a contained place.

    If you don’t have room for a tub, put the paper-wrapped cheese in a plastic sandwich or freezer bags.

    You don’t need to keep cheese in the fridge if you have a sufficiently cool pantry—many will store well covered in a cool room. However, most Canadian houses in winter are far too warm for this to work well!

    Serving Cheese:

    Cheese is best at room temperature. It’s best to unwrap the pieces you plan to eat and place them on a wooden board or cheese plate an hour or so before you will eat them. You can cover them with a damp cloth to keep the humidity constant. For a washed-rind cheese that has dried out, you can moisten the rind with a small amount of water mixed with white wine (use your fingertips to massage the liquid in).

    Generally speaking, a cheese board is made up of anywhere between one and eight types of cheese. If you have one amazing cheese—perhaps a whole wheel or a superb blue, for instance—you might want to eat it by itself so you can savour it fully. A cheese plate is also a delight. It’s good to have a variety of textures, flavours, styles, and ages—such as you have in the cheese box. Different cheeses can be accompanied by nuts, dried or fresh fruit, crackers or bread and butter, compotes and chutneys, charcuterie, or, of course, a multitude of wines and beers.