Cheese knives come in all shapes, sizes and budgets. You may lean towards high-end WÜSTHOF gourmet cheese knives or pine after a Laguiole en Aubrac 'Le Buron' handmade cheese knife. You might prefer items uniquely suited to the purpose, such as the Boska Roquefort Bow or stainless steel cheese slicer. Or you might prefer a budget set of matching cheese tools that can do all the jobs.
Or maybe you’re asking yourself, are cheese knives really necessary? With so many other kitchen gadgets available, a dedicated cheese knife (or set!) might seem frivolous or surplus to requirements.
Cheese Knives: Are They Really Necessary?
While it’s true that you don’t really have to have a cheese knife to eat cheese – after all, you could eat it with a butter knife, a spoon or even just smush it into your face with your fingers if you really want! What is true is that investing in a set of cheese knives is really a great idea.
Maintain Your Cheese’s Integrity
We’re not talking about keeping your cheese on the moral high ground here. We’re talking about maintaining your cheese’s structural integrity. And using a cheese knife that is purpose suited for the job at hand does just that.
Have you ever cut into a beautiful blue with a dull edged knife? The cheese comes off in misshapen shards with pockets of beautiful fragrant mould falling clean away and leaving you with a less flavourful bite. And many of you will have tried to cut a hard cheese, such as Asiago or Parmesan with a similar result. Suddenly you’ll find yourself confronted with irregular chunks of cheese that are difficult to manage and enjoy.
On the other hand, a cheese wire is perfect for blue cheeses. It doesn’t drag through or break off the fragile blue veins and pockets of delicious moulds. Instead, it makes nice, clean slices ideal for popping on a cracker or a bit of fig. In the same way, hard cheeses are so much easier to cut through with a wide, sharp blade, that slices cleanly and holds the cheese in a single, structurally-sound piece.
Better for Flavour
It might be hard to believe but using the right tool for the job actually helps the cheese to maintain and develop better flavour. A cheese slicer, for example, is a flat, tool with a rectangular cutting edge embedded in the centre. You may remember your mum or nan using this way back in the day to create thin slices of cheddar that could be used on sandwiches or presented on an old-school cheese and pickled onions platter. But it shouldn’t be a tool that’s just relegated to the past.
In fact, the cheese slicers thin slices of cheese do an excellent job of bringing out more flavour in the cheese. That is becomes the thin slices expose more surface area, which then exposes more of the cheese to air. And just like great wine, the more surface area of the cheese comes in contact with air, the more flavour that will develop. This works great with cheeses like gouda.
In the same way, the classic French-style cheese knife known as a presentation knife can crack open certain hard cheeses, such as Manchego, and actually help them taste better. Where the cheese naturally wants to crack is where the protein crystals are in the cheese. And cracking along those protein lines leads to extra flavour from your cheese.
Better for Entertaining
If cheese boards and grazing platters are part of your entertainment routine (and they definitely should be!), a great set of cheese knives will serve to elevate the experience. They don’t just look fantastic – though they do bring a certain sophistication to your cheese platter. They also help your guests to cut and serve themselves with ease, and in a way that brings out both the presentation of the cheese and the various flavours and textures.
An open work blade knife, for example, is designed to allow you to cut through soft cheeses like our local Udder Delights Ash Brie. It features holes in the blade which keep the surface area minimal and stop soft cheeses from sticking to the flat edges of the knife. And that means a better experience for your guests.
Better for Hygiene
When it’s just you enjoying delicious a luscious triple cream (like Tarago's Golden Gem Triple Cream) with a cheeky glass of wine on a Friday arvo, you can serve it however you like. After all, no one cares if you’re wiping up leftover smears of cheesy goodness with your bread, fingers or anything else.
But when you’re sharing a cheese platter, it’s far better for hygiene purposes to have the right tools for the job. One of the best cheese knife all-rounders in this case is the fork-tooth spear. It’s great for cutting and slicing a variety of firm cheeses, can be used for soft cheese in a pinch and the fork tip is fantastic for serving guests (or letting them serve themselves).
The most important reason to use different types of cheese knives is to keep the cheese in its original form and consistency, create a beautiful, presentable shape after serving and increase your enjoyment of the cheese. Cheese knives can help you do just that.
To get started we recommend starting with the fork-tooth spear, and then adding on the cheese slicer, the open work knife and a cheese wire. If you’re cheese lovers like we are, you’re probably already on your way to the shop! Enjoy.