What this is: How to prepare and revive your cheese before serving it.
Who it’s for: The friend who always has everyone over their house and has to keep a constantly stocked cheese drawer just in case.
So, you are having your friend over for dinner and you want to put out some snacks go with your wine and conversation. Thankfully, you have a few cheeses in the fridge to choose from, but if they have been hanging out in there for a little while, it’s best to do a “cheese check” to make sure they’re in top form before their party debut.
First, pull your cheeses out of the fridge ahead of time, probably about an hour before serving. This allows the cheese warm up, which softens the cheese and allows the flavors to bloom. Cold cheese right out of the fridge often has a muted flavor and harder, less supple texture—not what you want! It’s best if the cheeses can be close to room temp, so you can sink your teeth right into it and allow the cheese to melt in your mouth.
Next, you will want to check your cheese for any ambient mold or discoloration. This sort of change to the cheese is harmless and often occurs after a cheese has had some exposure to oxygen while chillin’ in your fridge (maybe if you didn’t wrap it right). If you spot anything, it is easiest to just scrape the side of the cheese with the back of a butter knife, until you see the natural color of the paste again. If it has gotten deep down in there, feel free to cut a little chunk off of the face of the cheese to reveal what’s underneath. Air exposure can also result in a noticeable “film” like texture on the face of some cheeses, be sure to scrape this light layer off too so the true flavors of the cheese can shine through.
Watch our video on scraping cheese below:
And that’s pretty much it! It doesn’t take a lot, but just a little extra TLC for your cheese means it might just be the main topic of conversation.
Don’t be afraid if your cheese looks a little different than the first day you bought it, it is salvageable! As long as the flavor of the cheese tastes good to you, it is good to eat.
Go see if you have some cheese kicking around in you cheese drawer. How does it look? Try the scrape and see if you can buff it up a bit.
Next, leave half of the cheese on the counter, and put half back in the fridge. Come back in an hour and do a direct side-by-side comparison of the cold-from-the-fridge cheese and the cheese that has had time to warm up. Notice that the one that’s been sitting out is leagues better, even though it’s the same cheese!
Click the icons to download a pdf of this lesson and our two handy guides: How Cheese is Made and Cheese and Pairing Types.