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Enjoying Cheese

 When it comes to good cheese, making the most of it is really rewarding. Here are our top tips for making the most of your cheese for yourself and your guests:

  • Always serve cheese at room temperature.
  • Once unpacked, wrap the cheese in cling film – but leave the rind bare to allow it to breathe and replace the cling film after a day or so.
  • A good-looking cheeseboard should have plenty of variety – Marches Blue and Shropshire Blue are a great start. Don’t forget separate knives for each cheese
  • The debate between whether to serve port or Sauterne with cheese will continue to cause fevered debate within your dining circle for years to come. In culinary terms, Sauterne compliments cheese beautifully, though Port is traditional in England.
  • Should you wish to lose your membership of your gentlemen’s clubs, we suggest serving American cheddar – or for complete social exclusion,we have learned of a cheese that comes in a spray can.
  • Cheese course before or after pudding is a continued source for conversation. Before pudding is the French way, afterwards is English.
  • Perish the thought but if there is cheese remaining on the cheese board, keep it for later indulgence by wrapping it up in clean cling film with the rind exposed  (or wax paper if available) and store it in the fridge.

 

And some top tips on cheese etiquette for guests:

  • Taking the nose off the Brie: Soft cheeses like this  ripen from the outside in. The nose is not the best part.
  • Cracker: Always bite-size pieces to the mouth, not the whole cracker. This is for crumb-control.
  • Being asked whether you know the Bishop of Norwich or whether your passport is in order arises if the guest brings the port decanter to a standstill (either by negligence or design!).  Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?’  is a tongue-in-cheek reminder to get the decanter moving again and is a reference to the late Bishop of Norwich, who in his nineties would often nod off during a meal. The alternative ‘is your passport in order?’ is less subtle and is practically a declaration of war.
  • Eating the rind is a must for soft cheeses, think Camembert, Brie and a soft blue, but it is not usual for hard cheese, since it is brittle and not entirely pleasant.
  • Eating cheese with fingers is quite acceptable (and indeed enjoyable), as long as the cheese knife is used to transfer the cheese to your plate first. It must, though, be borne in mind that handling Stinking Bishop before a round of shaking hands will put you among the less popular guests at the party.