Cheese Care: How to Look After, Store and Serve Your Cheese

Ask any affineur, cheesemonger or even cheese lover, and they’ll tell you that cheese is more than an ordinary food - it's a living, breathing delicacy that deserves proper care. To understand how to store and serve it properly, you first should know that artisan cheese is a live product that develops in incredible ways while maturing. This process happens right up until the moment the cheese is cut, locking in the flavour profile and aroma. From then on, your cheese needs to be refrigerated to preserve its freshness.

At Rennet and Rind, we visit the independent farms that make the cheeses we sell regularly and we see firsthand the labour and care that goes into making every wheel. So it’s only right that you experience these cheeses how they were intended, and that starts with creating the best conditions by how you store your cheese.

But how do you do this? And once you’re ready to indulge in a few wedges, what is the best way to serve cheese? Sit your favourite variety on the side and read this guide to learn how to present your cheese in its best light at your next cheese tasting session.

How to Store Cheese

When a piece of cheese is procured from a cheesemonger, how it is wrapped is integral to keeping its rich flavours contained until the right moment. At Rennet and Rind, all our cheese comes wrapped in high-quality wax paper designed to preserve the cheese’s quality.

To store cheese correctly, ensure it is wrapped in its original packaging and place it in a sealed plastic or glass container in the fridge. For best results, fold a piece of kitchen cloth and slightly dampen it with clean water before placing it in the container. This stops the cheese from drying out and keeps the humidity contained, creating an ideal microclimate for your cheese to thrive in.

How Long Does Cheese Last in the Fridge?

How long your cheese endures in the fridge depends on its ageing. Soft cheeses, due to their premature ageing period, can last up to two weeks of storage before losing their intended consistency, whereas hard and blue cheeses which have already been aged for sometimes over a year, can last up to a month. Certain varieties, such as Stilton and Parmesan, can even be frozen as a last resort measure, though this will take much longer to get to room temperature and change the texture.

You should also note that the live cultures and moulds become active each time you remove the cheese from the fridge and take it to room temperature, shortening the time it retains its original condition, so be sure to make the most of every time you dive into your block.

How to Serve Cheese

The experience of artisan cheese is about letting the cheese take you on a journey through its complex flavours, textures and aromas. Like the wheels of a Formula One car before it gets out on the track, serving artisan cheese properly and getting it to the right temperature is essential to getting the best experience possible.

Cheese is at its most toothsome when its flavours open up at room temperature. Thus, it is recommended to take your cheese out of the fridge before being served, cutting off the piece you need and putting the rest straight back in the fridge.

How to Cut Cheese

Using a cheese knife is best for taking a slice without damaging and crumbling the rest of the block. If you’re cutting off cheeses for a shared cheese board, allow about 1oz of cheese per person to ensure they get just enough to leave them wanting a little bit more, so they’ll be desperate to come for another board again.

How Long Should Cheese Be Out Before Serving?

Under typical fridge temperature settings, a slice of cheese should be left out for at least 30 minutes up to an hour, enough to get to room temperature. For best results, cover the cheese while it is warming under a cloche, cling film, foil or even a tea towel until it gets to room temperature so its freshness and aroma is not lost to the room scent. Nothing beats lifting the lid and getting a hit of the earthy aroma of a fresh slice of Bix, or the daring punch that a Beauvale blue. Preserving that is as necessary as its taste.

Discover the Finest Artisan Cheeses with Rennet and Rind

If you're passionate about exploring a variety of exquisite artisan cheeses, Rennet and Rind is the place for you. Our selection features the best in British cheesemaking, including award-winning hard cheeses, soft cheeses and more. By choosing Rennet and Rind, you can support and celebrate local cheesemakers while indulging in their exceptional creations. Embark on a journey through the UK's finest cheese offerings at Rennet and Rind, where tradition meets innovation.

Perry James Wakeman

Head Cheesemonger of Rennet & Rind. Qualified MonS Affineur, World Cheese Awards Judge and Patron/Trainer of The Academy of Cheese.

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