August 7, 2014

Have you mastered the art of cutting cheese?

Do you know how to cut a Bleu d'Auvergne, a Reblochon or even a Pont l'Evêque?

cutting cheese

Far from being simple, cutting cheese is an art… Even more so in France, where over 300 different types of cheese exist, making it hard to not get confused!

Thus, to make things easier for you and to avoid any embarrassing situations during a big dinner, La Belle Assiette will offer you the secrets of cheese cutting in this article…


1Cheeses that are round and flat (such as Camembert, Munster, Coulommiers, Reblochon…) are to be cut like cakes. Thus, it is necessary to incise the cheese in the centre and then cut two radii from the centre to the edge. The result should be a small triangular with a sharp tip.


2For pyramidal and cylindrical cheeses (like Valençay, Charolay, Pouligny-Saint-Pierre, Persilly des Aravis…), you must cut the cheese from the centre to the edge along the entire height of the cheese. You should therefore start from the top down, resulting into triangles, similarly to round cheeses.



3Squares cheeses (such as Maroille, Pavé d’Auge, Pont l’Evêque, Carré de l’est…) should be cut in the same way, from the centre to the edges, resulting into triangular portions.



4Cheeses with original forms (including Murol, Dauphin, Neufchâtel…) make use of the same principle as cheeses mentioned above: starting from the centre to the edge of the cheese and cut into small triangles.



5Small and round cheeses (such as Pélardon, Crottin de Chavignol, Picodon de la Drôme or Picodon de l’Ardèche…) are cut in half if you have a good appetite. If you want less however, you may want to cut the cheese in four quarters.



6For cheeses shaped as logs (such as Sainte Maure de Touraine, Bondon, Bûche du Poitou…), the straws should be initially removed (if there is any) to make cutting them easier. Then the cheese should be cut into round slices, from one edge to the another.



7For cheeses with a tip (Brie de Meaux, Brie de Melun…), you should never start cutting from the “nose” as that leaves the crust and it is considered rude to serve it that way…! You should therefore ensure that you cut them into small slices parallel to the sides of the cheese and by starting from the heel. Another option is to start by cutting slices across the width of cheese (but tapered) on the tip. Then, upon reaching a certain point, you should then start cutting it along the length to take the heel.


8For “round” cheeses (Comté, Emmental, Beaufort, Abondance, Morbier…), when you only have a portion of the complete round it is recommended to cut the cheese into slices parallel to the crust. Then, when you get to half the piece of cheese and when it gets high enough, start cutting from the other direction, that is cutting it along the heel (the piece with the crust) into two or more slices, depending on your appetite.


9Dutch cheeses that are in portions (Edam, Gouda…) should be put lying on the “flank”. They are then cut into triangular units from the center of the tip and through to the edges of the cheese.



As for blue cheeses (Bleu d’Auvergne, Roquefort, Bleu de Termignon, Fourme d’Ambert, Montbrison, Bleu des Causses…), they exist in two different forms, each of them requiring distinct cutting methods (which is generally carried out by using a wire or a long knife).


10For cheeses that are in discs, the recommended thing to do is to cut them into triangular parts, from the centre of the cheese.



11For cheeses that are in quarters, they should placed on their sides and cut from the centre of the fine portion into triangular slices, thoroughly, even to the edge of the cheese.




Finally, Parmesan, Sbrinz and other cheeses of the same type, that is to say with a very hard dough, are not cut but “broken” apart, usually with a cheese cleaver.


Now get to your knives and enjoy cheese the right way.

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