Cheese, like other fine things in life, need a bit of TLC. In this guest post, Danicia Quinlan, managing director of Fromage Artisans, shares her top tips for caring for cheese, including artisan and homemade cheeses.
The three Cs of Cheese
Clear and clean
Cheese is a live product it will easily absorb other flavours! Keep it well away from last week’s meatloaf or a smelly curry in the fridge.
Keep it chilly in the fridge and take it out 30 minutes before serving to bring it up to room temperature. To keep everyone safe, it should only be out for a maximum of 4 hours. Also, it’s not the best idea to put it back into the fridge if it has been out for more than 2 hours.
Like the sweet baby delight that it is, keep cheese swaddled and wrapped so it doesn’t lose flavour when exposed to air. For hard cheeses, choose tight cling wrap (change it out from time to time) while soft cheese is best in airtight containers. Semi-hard loves to breathe so keep them in speciality cheese paper or baking paper.
Ripe and ready
The best before date is a great hint on when the cheese will be ripe and ready! Try and buy as close to this date as possible. In some cases, after this date can be best, especially for Australian brie and camembert. But if the cheese has a use by date and this date has passed, then wave it goodbye and discard immediately. Fresh cheeses just don’t keep well at all! Hard cheeses are already aged (translate: been round the traps for awhile) and are much more resilient, so feel free to just enjoy them at your leisure.
Get it ready to serve
Cut it chilled with a chef’s knife or wire. Score the rind and trim off any dry edges or surface mould and bring it to room temperature.
Making it last
Most cheeses should last about four to eight weeks in the refrigerator, though fresh and grated cheese should be used within a week or so.
To freeze or not to freeze?
You can freeze cheese but it can affect the cheese quality. We reckon fresh is always best!
Fromage Artisans is a boutique fromagerie and bar based in Perth, Western Australia. Learn more about them at www.fromage.com.au.