GENERAL CHEESE INFORMATION


Selecting your own cheeseboard

When choosing cheeses consider those who will be sharing the cheese. Are they adventurous or conservative? Are they vegetarian? Is anyone pregnant? Do they have an allergy to cows' milk and can only eat ewes' or goats' milk cheeses? Of course, don't forget to include you own favourites. When selecting your cheese it is also worth considering a range of textures, colours, milk types, shapes and strengths of flavour.

No cheese should be less than 250 grammes in weight since this can look mean and the cheese will be more prone to drying out. The number of cheeses on a cheese board depends on the number of guests, but generally it is advisable to have no more than six or seven different cheeses.


How much cheese per person

This depends on the occasion. If the cheeseboard follows a heavy meal then 70 to 90 grammes per person will be sufficient. If the cheese selection has a more major role, at cheese and wine parties for instance, then allow 100 to 150 grammes or more. Of course, you can modify these amounts to suit the appetites of your guests.


Storing cheese

Ideally, cheese should be stored in a cool, damp environment e.g. a cellar or larder. One can experiment using a garage or shed (possible during the winter months) but care must be taken to protect the cheese from pests. Cheese should be left in the waxed paper provided and then loosely wrapped in a damp tea towel and placed in a sturdy box. If the cheese dries out then the tea towel needs to be dampened. If the cheese grows mould quickly then the tea towel is too damp.

Alternatively, store cheese in the warmest part of the refrigerator (often the only choice in modern centrally heated houses). Cheese should be left in the waxed paper provided. However, hard cheeses, if kept for extended periods, should be wrapped in cling film to prevent them from drying out. Whole cheeses should be wrapped in a damp cloth and turned over twice a week to prevent a 'soggy bottom' forming.


Serving cheese

Allow your cheeses to sit at room temperature for at least two hours before serving. Arrange them on a plate, board or tile and decorate with grapes, apples and cheese biscuits.

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