You can’t cut a pizza the same way that you portion a tray of lasagna, right? The same is true of cheese. Each shape—wheels, wedges, logs, and pyramids—should be cut and portioned in a slightly different way.
The Right Way to Slice and Serve Cheese (and Why It Matters)
Learning how to serve cheese isn’t just a matter of presentation. The way you portion it actually changes the flavor and texture of each bite. Softer cheeses such as Brie and young goat cheeses often change in texture as you move from the interior towards the exterior, and you want to get all of that delicious textural contrast on your cracker or piece of bread. Cheeses also change in flavor from edge to center. On aged cheeses, the portion closest to the rind might taste earthy, nutty, and mushroomy, while the innermost section is sweeter and milder. To get the fullest picture of the cheese and the most flavorful bite, you want to taste as much of it at once as possible.
As a general rule, try to get a bit of the center and the rind (or the section closest to the rind) with each slice.
One other word of advice: Let your cheese sit at room temperature to take the chill off. It will be more flavorful and easier to portion.
Small Bark-Wrapped Wheels
Cheeses: Jasper Hill Creamery Harbison, Jasper Hill Creamery Winnimere, Rush Creek Reserve
What to Do: Run a knife around the perimeter of the cheese and down the center of the wheel. Peel back half of the rind and scoop out the cheese with a spoon or rounded knife.
Soft Wheels and Wedges
Cheeses: Camembert, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam, Brie and Brie-style cheeses such as Fromager d’Affinois and Jasper Hill Creamery Moses Sleeper
What to Do: If you have a small wheel, start by cutting it into equal wedges. Cut the sides of the wedges, from the exterior to the point, forming skinny triangular slices.
Semisoft and Hard Wedges
Cheeses: Manchego, Drunken Goat, blue cheeses such as Maytag Blue and Point Reyes Creamery Original Blue
What to Do: Cut slices off the sides, working towards the center. You can make perfectly parallel slices or angle out from the cheese’s midpoint.
Cheeses: Alpine-style cheese such as Challerhocker and washed rind cheeses such as Morbier
What to Do: Cut off the end of the cheese and continue making slices perpendicular to the length of the cheese. Slices taken from the cheese’s middle section can be cut in half. When you near the end of the cheese, make your slices perpendicular to it.
Rectangles, Squares, and Blocks
Cheeses: Cheddar such as Milton Creamery Prairie Breeze, softer cheeses such as Barn First Creamery Cowles, Robiola, and Tulip Tree Trillium
What to Do: There are two ways to approach square or rectangular cheese. If it’s fairly firm and relatively uniform in texture, you can simply slice straight across it, cutting each piece in half if you’d like.
If it’s softer and you can’t get the whole cross section in a bite or two, start by cutting the cheese in half diagonally. Then cut small pieces from the sides, from the exterior to the center, working towards the middle of the triangle.
Cheeses: Goat cheeses such as Valençay and Capriole Piper’s Pyramid
What to Do: Make two cuts from top to bottom, forming a tall wedge. Then tilt the wedge on its side and cut it into smaller portions, working from the outside in.
Cheeses: Goat cheeses such as Sainte-Maure de Touraine, Laura Chenel Original Fresh Goat Cheese Log, and Bucheron
What to Do: Slice the log into coins. On larger logs, position the coin so that it’s flat and then cut into half-moons or little wedges.
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