Knowing how to eat good cheese properly will help you to appreciate each cheese’s unique qualities. Good cheese has usually been made by hand and may have been aged for a number of months so it makes sense to eat good cheese with some pointers in mind and under the right conditions.
- Cheese is best tasted at room temperature. It should be brought to room temperature while being covered. This will take about 30 to 60 minutes depending on the size of the piece. The exception to this rule is when you eat good cheese that is a very fresh cheese, like ricotta, which should be taken out of the refrigerator just before eating.
- Limit the temperature changes. Cheese will spoil faster and the flavor may change or the texture may suffer if it is chilled and then brought to room temperature more than once. The solution is to take out only what will be eaten in one sitting.
- Eat the mildest cheese first. When you eat good cheese of more than one type start with a soft mild cheese such as one made from goat’s milk. Then taste the next strongest one ending with the strongest flavored one, such as a blue cheese.
- Use all of your senses. Smell the cheese, aroma enhances the taste. Touch it to see if it is hard, soft, or dry.
- Examine the cheese visually. You can see the condition of the cheese by seeing if there are any cracks or mold. A soft cheese may be indented in the middle but that is only part of the ripening process.
- Avoid a plastic taste. When storing cheese wrap it in parchment or wax paper first so that the plastic doesn’t impart a chemical taste to the side next to the plastic.