Cutting through it: which knife to use on what cheese

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Different cheeses call for different knives. Yes, that chef’s knife you have at home can cut it, but wrongly so. If you’re really serious about doing right by your cheese, you should have at least a cheese knife set.

Cheese knives are mainly categorised as for hard, soft, and hard/soft cheeses. But some are specific to a particular type of cheese. A knife set may also include a spade and a fork.

The Basics

There are many knives involved where cheese is concerned, but if you only want to focus on the essentials, your options are narrowed down to three.

  1. Fork-tipped spear is a knife with sharp-tipped prongs on the end. It is used to cut, slice, and then serve cheese.
  2. Hard cheese knife, as the name suggests, is for hard cheeses, such as Parmesan. It resembles a spade but with a sharp edge.
  3. Open work blade knife is instantly recognisable for the holes on its blade. It’s not just for aesthetics but also to make it easier to cut through soft cheese, such as Camembert, Brie, and Pont l’Evèque.

But because there is a huge variety of cheeses, there are other knives recommended for use.

  • Gorgonzola knife is specifically designed for Gorgonzola or different blue cheeses. It can cut into wheels, and the tip can be used to spread the cheese on bread because of its routed design.
  • Flat cheese knife is used for both crumbly soft cheese and firm cheese. To cut the former, and to chip, shave, and cube the latter.
  • Soft cheese knife not only cuts through soft cheeses, but is also used to spread them over crackers, bread and other accompanying foods served.
  • Narrow plane knife is the more flexible of cheese knives, cutting various types of semi-firm and soft cheeses.

In addition to these, there are also knives used to deal with rinds. Rind Cutter and Almond Knife to score them, and the Flat Spatula knife to cut away excess. Then, there are also accessories to cut or serve cheese, such as the Spade and Cheese Fork.

With all these sharp implements to choose from, deciding on which knife to buy can be a bit challenging, especially if you just want to buy one. Well, you can always narrow down your options based on several factors.

How to Buy the Right Cheese Knife for You

  • Identify the kind of cheese you’re likely to eat and serve frequently. Is it going to be mostly hard or soft cheeses or a bit of both?
  • Know how much you can afford to invest in a cheese knife. If you want to start with just one, a Fork-tipped spear or a Narrow plane knife will do. But if you can buy the basics, so much better.

Ideally, you should have a knife for each kind of cheese. If you get to familiarise which knife should be used with what, serving cheese would be so much fun. But if you can only buy one, be sure to make the best choice. Don’t forget to buy a wooden board as well.

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