After a hectic week of entertaining and dinner parties, given that it was Diwali last week, I was finally able to catch my breath this morning and decided to sort out some stuff in the kitchen. Rummaging through some drawers, I noticed an entire set of cheese knives, of which we seemed to have used only one or two so far! In fact, a few were still in their original packaging.
Despite all the wine we have, we aren’t that big on cheese. Or rather, I am not. Another reason for not having used these knives is also because I really don’t know which one goes with what kind of cheese! So for people like me, here is a short tutorial on cheese knives.
Depending upon the moisture content in a cheese, it can be categorised as soft, semi-soft, hard, etc. Each variety of cheese uses a different knife. A distinguishing feature of cheese knives is that unlike normal knives, these knives are thinner near the handle and get wider from the base. The different knives are as follows:
Soft cheese knives:
For soft cheese varieties such as Brie, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, etc., a sharp knife is used. These knives are usually serrated and have holes in them so as to prevent the cheese from sticking to the blade. This allows the cheese to be cut precisely. Some of these knives may also have a fork at the end which is used for serving the cheese.
A spreader is also used at times when serving very soft cheese like Camembert or cream cheese.
Hard cheese knives:
Hard cheese as the name suggests are hard and dry. They are mature, aged cheese such as Asiago, Parmesan/Parmigiano, Pecorino Romano, Cheddar, etc. A tough blade is needed for such hard varieties. A wide knife is commonly used for very hard cheese. A short and stubby knife resembling a cleaver is used for Parmesan.
For cutting thin, even slices, a slicer is recommended. A vegetable peeler can be used for thin shaved pieces of parmigiano or pecorino.
A pronged knife or a fork is used to serve soft and medium-hard cheese.
Since we are discussing cheese, it is imperative to talk about the display as well. Cheese boards are used to serve and display cheese. They can made of good quality wood, marble, glass or any other material and can be of any shape and size. Cheese boards can be plain or engraved. Some may even have holes in the side for olive bowls.
There are a whole lot of other ‘cheesy’ utensils but these are the most basic. It’s time to take the packaging off and sharpen the knives. Looking forward to a whole lot of wine and cheese do’s!