How To Cut Every Cheese

Alright, alright, settle down - I see you two laughing back there. Let’s come to attention, sharpen our knives, and act like adults because today we’re learning how to cut every cheese. Join Anne Saxelby, founder and co-owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers, for a crash course on how to impress your entourage with any fromage. From the firm and tangy to the creamy and salty, Anne lays out the best tools and techniques for serving nearly any cheese you could think of.

Video Transcript

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ANNE SAXELBY: Hi, I'm Anne Saxelby, founder and co-owner of Saxelby Cheesemongers, and I'm here today to show you how to serve every cheese. We're talk about how to cut, serve, and store cheeses, and what are the best accompaniments to serve each cheese with. Parmigiano Reggiano, AKA, the king of cheese. So this is probably the best known example of a cooked press cheese.

Cooked press cheeses are cooked to higher temperatures. They tend to be quite firm and are aged for a very long time. To best serve Parmigiano Reggiano, you would likely want to use a small, hard cheese knife, like this one. It's really great for getting at hard cheeses to either slice them, or kind of chisel them off.

So to cut this Parmigiano Reggiano, I'm just going to get right in there and chisel this cheese off along its natural fault lines. This is one of the most fun cheeses to cut and serve, because you don't have to worry about creating smooth, even slices. You can see these little white crystalline bits. And these crystals are actually clusters of proteins, or amino acids, that recalcified during the aging process. So the longer the Parmigiano Reggiano ages, the more intense and kind of ubiquitous those protein clusters will be.

When serving Parmigiano reggiano, or really any cheese, you want to serve it at room temperature. Cheeses taken right out of the fridge can actually have flavors that seem a little muted, or almost stunted. And that's because the cold really kind of locks up the fat, where the flavor lives. So when you're serving a cheese at room temperature, you're allowing the flavor to really fully express itself.

When you're planning a party or a cheese board, a great general rule of thumb is two ounces of cheese per person. Both Parmigiano Reggiano and balsamic vinegar come from the same region of Italy. If it grows together, it goes together. Parmigiano Reggiano is a very rich, aged cheese and it has buttery flavors, toasty flavors, brothy flavors. It's wonderfully salty.

And so an aged balsamic, it brings a little bit of acidity, fruitiness, of course, and also just a touch of sweetness, that really offsets everything wonderful about the cheese. So you can literally just drizzle a bit on there. And then dunk the cheese in. Another thing that you can pair Parmigiano Reggiano with is fresh fruit, like fresh figs. Again, because the figs are sweet, but not too sweet, and have kind of an earthy character as well, it just makes a fantastic pairing with the cheese.

This is Gruyere, possibly Switzerland's most famous cheese. Gruyere is also an alpine style cheese. So alpine style refers to any cheeses that are made in the Alps, or made in the same style of cheese that are made in the Alps. Alpine style cheeses like Gruyere or raclette are fabulous melters.

So even though this is a very big slice, you can get a nice little slice off, even with a tiny knife like this, so long as it's sharp. If you need to balance your knife, you can do so with the front finger as well as the back one. The rind of Gruyere is actually not so pleasant.

People always ask, when do you eat the rind of different cheeses. And the answer is basically this, unless the rind is made from wax, bark, or cloth, you can always eat it. It's just up to you whether or not you like the taste.

I would cut the rind off in a slice, like this. To serve the Gruyere with a cheese planer, you literally take the wedge and you drag the cheese planer across. And you get these wonderful, thin, papery slices.

An architect friend of mine once said that everything in life is about surface area. And when you're talking about a cheese like this, it is 100% true. I would challenge anybody who's watching this video to slice this cheese both ways, taste both, and note the differences. In a bigger chunk like this, it's super rich but also very fudgie, very dense, and very hearty. Conversely, when you eat one of these little paper thin slices, it literally melts on your tongue.

So good. You can put it out on a cheese board with full grain mustard and cornichons, and maybe also some bread on the side. And it is delicious.

Havarti. Denmark's most famous cheese. Here we have a havarti, actually, with some dill in it. Because it's made from whole cow's milk, and because it has kind of a fresh, creamy milky flavor, pretty much anything you pair with it is going to be great. Havarti tends to be semi firm, very pliant, almost a little bit buttery. So it's not quite as cooked and not quite as pressed.

When serving havarti, it's great to use just a simple sharp chef's knife. And I cannot overstate how important it is to have at least one sharp knife in your house. When you're slicing the havarti, it's best to literally just start at the end and make some clean, even slices.

There's really nothing fancy. Havarti is, I think, the world's ultimate snacking cheese. We've chosen to pair it with crackers, which is a very simple but effective paring. Butter cracker and seeded cracker. With havarti, simple is best.

This is raclette. This cheese isn't quite as firm as the other cook press cheeses we've seen, like Parmigiano Reggiano or Gruyere, but it shares with Gruyere its meltability. Raclette was really built to melt. In fact, the verb [FRENCH] in French means to scrape, because the traditional way to serve this cheese is actually to melt it and scrape it on top of roasted potatoes or bread.

Raclette is a raw cow's milk cheese, meaning that it's made from milk that hasn't been pasteurized. Raw milk cheese, when it's made from milk that is coming from healthy animals and being produced in sanitary facilities, not only makes tastier cheeses, but it's arguably better for our bodies too. I like to start by slicing a little bit off the front, and then cut rectangular shaped wedges off the back.

The rind of raclette is absolutely delicious. Put those onto these paddles here. And put them under this raclette machine.

What we have here is a machine that has a little heat lamp, essentially, under this grill top. And so the cheese is actually going to be broiled. This is a cheese fork, which would usually be used to pick up and spear little pieces of cheese on a cheese plate. But for this instance, while the raclette is cooking and bubbling here on these paddles, I'm going to put boiled potatoes and the salami onto the top of the raclette machine, so that gets nice and hot.

And it's tempting to pour the cheese off before it's fully cooked, but it's really, really worth waiting until you can actually see the cheese almost kind of jumping around. The cheese is melted until it's almost translucent and these big undulating bubbles are forming. So that tells me it's the right time.

So I'm going to put some of my potatoes on the plate here as well as this salami. And this is the moment everyone waits for. You pour the raclette onto the salami and potatoes, in a nice buttery sheet. And voila, your perfect plate of raclette is ready.

This is Tete de Moine, a raw cow's milk cheese from Switzerland. And the thing that makes Tete de Moine different and distinctive, is its shape and size. So it has the signature nuttiness of the cooked press cheese family, but is also washed with brine, which makes it a little bit more pungent and a little funky.

In French, the word for rind is [FRENCH] which means crust. It's kind of like the crust of the bread but it's the crust of the cheese. But with cheeses like this that are more aged, the rind can be pretty strong and pretty earthy. It's not going to be the tastiest to eat. So we're going to remove that part.

And I'm using my chef's knife and just rocking it back and forth slowly, to try to get a nice, even cut. In French, Tete de Moine means head of the monk. The Swiss, when they invented this cheese, it reminded them of seeing the top of a monk's head, because monks would traditionally shave the top of their head and leave a little ring of hair around the outside.

There is a special way to serve Tete de Moine that deserves recognition. This little contraption is called a girolle, and it was invented solely to serve this cheese. So now what we're going to do, is going to try to find the middle. And then with gentle, even pressure, push the wheel down until it rests on the bottom.

This can't be done with just any cheese. If you tried to stick a different cheese that was more acidic onto this blade, it will crumble and fall apart. So now what we're going to do is put the blade down here onto the pin and start twirling. And as we twirl, you can see these beautiful little florets of cheese starting to form a nice little flowery shape.

I'm going to make another one for good measure. If you don't eat the whole wheel of cheese, which is understandable because there's quite a lot of it, you can always take the rest of the cheese and store it in your refrigerator. Since cheese is a delicate matrix of fat, water, and protein, if you put it in the freezer, it denatures that balance and it's going to change the texture. So always store your cheese in the fridge, either in foil or parchment paper.

We deliberately chose not to pair the Tete de Moine with anything. These delicate florets of cheese, they just melt in your mouth and really express the flavor of this cheese. It is just delicious. That texture is absolutely unique.

This is Swallow Tail Tomme, our first uncooked pressed cheese. Uncooked pressed cheeses are cooked to slightly lower temperatures during the cheese making process, and they're consequently a little bit softer in texture and age a little bit faster. So the Swallow Tail Tomme is also an example of a Tomme style cheese, a category of cheese that is semi firm, a little bit sour in texture, that are covered with this beautiful earthy rind.

And this is really just the ambient mold that grows in the cave where the cheese is aging. It might look a little scary or a little crazy, but the rinds of cheeses like the Swallow Tail Tomme add a very pleasant earthiness to the character of the cheese. When you're slicing the Swallow Tail Tomme, and really when you're slicing any cheese, you should start from the center and kind of cut even slices that radiate out from the center.

All cheeses ripen from the outside in. The molds, and bacteria, and fungi that are present on the rind actually break down the fat and the protein in the cheese, and create flavor and ripen it over time. The outside of the cheese is going to be the first part to ripen, and the inside of the cheese is going to be the last part to ripen.

So when you cut an even slice that has an even distribution of outside and inside, you're going to be tasting kind of the full spectrum of flavor. I said I like to eat the rind, but I don't like to eat all the rind. Again, this is personal preference. But what I would do is cut off this big chunk of rind here, and leave a little bit on the back.

And no, I wouldn't normally eat it like this. If I was eating it myself, I would start here and probably end up here. Just to demonstrate how delicious this rind is, I'm going to start with the rind first.

The rind is absolutely delicious. It's kind of like the crust of bread. We've chosen to pair cherries with the Swallow Tail Tomme. These cheeses tend to be kind of tart and yogurty, so just as you can imagine eating fresh cherries with your yogurt, it's a beautiful pairing with the cheese.

This is Goat Tomme. This is another example of an uncooked pressed cheese. This Goat Tomme has a beautiful earthy rind that's actually dappled with yellow molds as well.

When the cheesemaker started making this cheese, he didn't necessarily intend for this exact mold to be on the surface. But when he built his cellar and put the young wheels of cheese down there, this was the type of mold that grew on the surface. And over the years has become kind of the signature molds of his farm and his cheeses.

We can take a nice thin slice. And I'm going to, again, I'm going to cut the rind off of one side. But I'm going to leave the rind on the back. It's wonderful to have the interplay of different flavors that come from different fermented foods. Of course, bread and salami are both examples of cured fermented foods. And then to top it off, we have some sweet cherry preserves, which just add a touch of sweetness.

This is Bismark, a cloth bound sheep's milk cheddar that's made in Vermont and aged in Brooklyn. Bismark is a cloth bound sheep's milk cheddar, and so it has the same characteristics that you would expect from a cheddar. It's sharp. It's tangy. It's a little bit nutty.

Sheep's milk has about twice the butter fat of cow or goat's milk in it. It adds a roundness to the cheese and a fullness on the palate. And it also adds, for lack of a better word, a slightly sheepy flavor to the overall cheese.

The tradition of binding cheddar cloth is definitely one that dates back to the 1800s. It allows the cheese to breathe, which allows it to develop different distinctive flavors, and it also protects it. If any cheese is coated with wax, cloth, or bark, you do not want to eat the rind.

So to make this cheese a little bit easier to slice, we can actually just peel the cloth coating off of it. And if I'm going to use my chef knife and try to make a long even cut, I can slice it like this. If I want to use the smaller knife, it's going to be difficult to get kind of an even longer slice.

But you can also cut little chunks off the front that are going to be perfectly tasty. Cheddar is a wonderful cheese to serve with apples and dried raisiny grapes. The sharpness and the tart qualities of the cheese are a perfect foil to kind of the crisp acidity and the juiciness of the apples.

This is Shelburne Cheddar, a raw cow's milk cheddar from Vermont. Cheddar cheeses can be bound in cloth and cave aged, or they can also be aged in cryovac. Aging the cheese in the cryovac bags means that it's aging without oxygen, which results in a cheddar that has a very toothsome, fudgie, dense texture, and a very potent sharp flavor, to me that always leans a little bit more towards an oniony or alium sharpness.

When I slice the Shelburne Cheddar, I always like to slice in thin slices and then cut into squares or into rectangles, rather than cubes. For me, a big cube of cheddar can just be a little bit overwhelming. Cheddar cheese, especially ones like this Shelburne Cheddar, are so versatile in the kitchen. You can cook with these as well as put them on a cheese board. You can do things like grilled cheese, mac and cheese, nachos, chili. The world is your oyster. I like to pair cheddar cheeses like this with dried fruits and fresh fruits, like dried apricots and these fresh purple grapes.

This is Manchego. This is an example of a waxed cheese. You can see that the rind is coated with a very thin paraffin wax, and it's also got this distinctive basket pattern on the outside, which is a signature element of Manchego. Manchego is a pure sheep's milk cheese that's made in Spain, and it's a name protected cheese, meaning it has to be made within a certain geographic region.

When you slice a block of Manchego like this, you can do it from top to bottom. Sometimes it can be intimidating to cut a big slice of cheese like this. I'm going to show you how to do it, just so you know. And then I'm going to show you another way.

It's really important to line up the knife so that you have a good amount overhanging the front that you can press your fingers down onto. This is going to give you the confidence you need to slice through this kind of firm, tall wedge of cheese. So you just use even pressure on the front and the back all the way down. If that seems like it's too tall, or too difficult, or too crazy, or whatever, another way to slice this Manchego would be to turn it on its side, and cut the bottom rind off, and cut the cheese into more triangular slices.

You could even slice them in half again, to make them a little bit more narrow. You could choose to leave this rind on the back. Or if you don't trust people not to eat it, you could do them the service of cutting it off.

The most classic quintessential pairing for Manchego is membrillo. Membrillo is actually a jelly that is made from the cooked pulp of the quince fruit. The cheese is so dense.

It's buttery. It's nutty. It's a little sheepy and woolly, for lack of a better word. And then when you pair it with this intense sweetness of the quince, it forms this incredible mouthful.

This is an aged Gouda that has been aged between 12 and 18 months, made from raw cow's milk. Gouda originates in Holland and actually takes its name from the town of Gouda, which is actually pronounced "how-da." Young Gouda tends to be creamy, and buttery, and mild. But the longer Gouda ages, the sweeter it gets.

This is a medium aged example, I would say, between 12 and 18 months. But Gouda can be aged as long as five, or even seven, years. Back in the day, when the Dutch were trading with everybody all over the world, they were also the first to export their cheeses and their butter overseas. They discovered coating the cheese in wax, sealed in the moisture, allowed the cheese to age for a longer time, and protected it during the long and kind of arduous voyage.

The wax coating also makes the resulting cheese creamier. Because no oxygen can get in, all of that moisture and creaminess is trapped inside the wheel as it's aging. You could cut it like this, off the front, or you could also cut it like this, from front to back. If you're going to slice it with a cheese planer, you can drag the cheese slicer over it like this, and serve the cheese this way.

And in extra aged Goudas, that sweetness can translate to an almost kind of butterscotchy, dulce de leche, or toffee kind of flavor. So I've decided to pair the Gouda with something equally sweet, as almost kind of a dessert course. So there is both dark chocolate and toffee. The dark chocolate is an incredible match for this cheese, because the tannic, rich, earthiness as well as the slight sweetness are a perfect foil to that dulce de leche, caramely sweetness in the cheese. And the toffee also creates a really formidable pairing because of the toasted nuts and the caramelized sugars.

This is Brie, which is a part of the bloomy rind, or mold ripened cheese family. When we talk about bloomy rind or mold ripened cheeses, we're talking about any cheese that is covered with this kind of white fluffy mold or a white wrinkly mold, which is actually beneficial, totally safe to eat, and very tasty. The mold that grows on the outside of the cheese is literally breaking down the fat and the protein in the cheese and ripening it from the outside in.

So when we're serving a bloomy rind or mold ripened cheese, the best tool to use is a sharp knife. I have a boning knife, which is a very narrow and sharp blade. And then I have this soft cheese knife, which has some holes in it, as well as a fork at the top, which you can use to spear the piece of cheese that you've just cut and serve it. So when you're cutting into a cheese like this, you can either start by cutting it in half, and then taking kind of slices out of it, almost like you would a cake, or a pie, or a pizza, or you can start by taking sort of a Pacman type wedge out of the middle. I'm going to start by doing that, because that can make for a fun presentation on a cheese board.

You cut a little bit of the cheese, but then you can allow your guests to see the interior of the cheese. The center is still a little bit firmer, and even has some little holes in it, where the places that are closer to the exterior of the cheese are a little softer and gooier, and have started to break down. I recommend taking the cheese out about an hour before you're going to serve it.

If you forget and don't have an hour, a quick cheat is to turn your oven on to like 300 or so and turn it off, and then stick your cheese in there, just for a few minutes, and take it out. And that will allow it to warm up a little bit. You can pair Brie with many different kinds of accompaniments, but today I've chosen strawberry, which adds a pop of really vibrant, beautiful red color, as well as sweetness, which really goes well with the kind of buttery and creamy quality of the cheese, as well as this honey mixed with toasted hazelnuts and pistachios. The sweetness of the honey, and the saltiness and crunch of the toasted nuts, really offset the creamy buttery qualities of Brie.

This is Camembert. Camembert is known for its gooey, buttery texture, as well as for its oftentimes pungent flavor and aroma. Aromas of certain bloomy rind cheeses, like this Camembert, have been described as being part of the brassica family, so similar to broccoli, or cauliflower, or sometimes even cabbage, which sounds crazy until you smell or eat a cheese like this. And then you realize that there's actually some of those funky, pungent, earthy flavors there.

To show you the difference between how two similar bloomy rind cheeses ripen, I wanted to show the Brie that we just served as well as the Camembert that you see here. So this is my wheel of Brie, which you can see is a younger cheese. And the reason you can see that is because the rind is very white, very even, very smooth, and has a very mellow to nonexistent aroma. This Camembert, on the other hand, is very ripe, and you can see that the rind looks quite different, there are some spots of white, but also spots of brown and yellow. And when you smell the rind, it has a much more intense, pungent flavor, and that's how you can tell that this Camembert is more ripe and is also going to taste stronger.

To serve this Camembert, I've chosen pecans and pears. The pecans are, of course, going to add a little bit of crunch, but also a little bit of a sweet, toasty flavor. And the pear is going to add a little bit of a crisp acidity along with a mild sweetness. I'm going to cut it in half. And you can see that this Camembert is quite ripe.

The interior of the cheese is kind of uniformly gooey, which means that the cheese is fully ripened from the outside in. This is going to mean that the Camembert has a really nice, full, intense flavor. So you can smear a dollop of the Camembert right on top of this pecan, or you can also serve a little bit on top of a slice of pear.

This is Coupole, an example of a bloomy rind or mold ripened goat's milk cheese. The rind of this Coupole is completely edible. Goat's milk, for lack of a better word, has a musky or almost goaty flavor to it. I happen to love goat cheese.

When serving soft, bloomy rind or mold ripened cheeses, you can use a boning knife, or a soft cheese knife, or you can also pick up a kind of fancier tool like this. This is called a harp wire. It just makes you look like a pro. You can literally just cut through the center of the cheese.

And look at that, it's just like a beautiful, perfect cut. And from there, you can slice and dice the cheese in many different ways, and get very accurate and very beautiful slices. Bloomy rind goat's milk cheeses like Coupole have kind of a lactic quality to them, which for me kind of equates to a yogurty fresh taste.

And so when you're serving cheese like that, it's nice to have some bright accompaniments. I've chosen the marmalade, which of course, has very citrusy, and zesty, and bright flavors, as well as fresh figs, which are going to be juicier and a little bit sweeter, and then these dried fruit nutcrackers, which also complement the goat's milk flavors. I'm going to make a bite, a perfect bite, of the Coupole goat cheese on the cracker and with a little dollop of marmalade on top.

This is Gorgonzola, the most famous Italian blue cheese. Blue cheeses like Gorgonzola are very recognizable because they are full of these beautiful blue veins. Contrary to what many people believe, blue cheeses are not injected with this blue mold, rather the cheese maker will pierce the cheese, or poke holes in it, and the oxygen that's entering the cheese allows the blue mold to grow. So here, we can actually see in this piece of Gorgonzola, there are different holes here. And that is literally the cheese maker coming along with a stainless steel spike, and spiking the cheese in order to let that blue grow. The blue mold is delicious and edible.

This knife is a special Italian blue cheese knife that I picked up on my travels to Italy. It allows you to slice through the cheese, and then when you get to the bottom of the cheese, it's not going to get stuck on the table, forcing you to kind of wiggle it around. It's going to allow you to just create a beautiful cut. And you'll see that when I've cut through the blue, a little bit of cheese does get stuck to the surface of the knife, but the thinness of the blade is designed to minimize that.

I chose to serve the Gorgonzola with honeycomb, which is, of course, a sweet pairing, as well as toasted walnuts. So I'm going to use my soft cheese knife and slice myself off a little wedge of blue. This piece really doesn't have much blue veining. I'm going to cheat and cut myself a piece that has a nice little vein of blue in it, because I happen to really enjoy that earthy stronger flavor.

Put that on the bread. And then I'm going to use the soft cheese knife to slice into the honeycomb. Honeycomb tends to be a little expensive, but it is totally worth it if you want to kind of go all out and create a really fun beautiful cheese board.

This is Roquefort, arguably the most famous blue cheese in the world. Roquefort is a French blue cheese made from raw sheep's milk and was one of the first cheeses to receive an AOC or DOP name protection, meaning that the cheese can only be made in a certain region, from a certain breed of sheep, and following certain specifications following how the cheese is made. Roquefort it has an absolutely irresistible buttery texture. The flavors imparted by the blue mold include kind of creamy, fruity, peppery, and earthy flavors that just combine to make this cheese absolutely unique and incredible.

When you're cutting roquefort or other blue cheeses it can be tricky to do, because they can crumble easily. I'm going to cut the cheese with the harp wire. And look how easily I can slice this cheese. And it just creates a perfectly even wedge. From there, I'm going to cut slices like this.

Oftentimes with blue cheeses, you will see a slight rosy or pinkish color under the rind. It's just a natural result of the ripening process. I've decided to serve the Roquefort today with a classic combo, a French baguette and butter. Blue cheese can be kind of contentious and many people think that all blue cheeses are going to be very strong, very intense, and that they don't like them.

But if you mellow out the blue cheese with a little bit of butter, you are just going to be in heaven. Not going to be fancy about this. Literally going to rip the baguette open. Any butter will do, but if you can find good butter at the supermarket, it might be worth investing in slightly fancier butter than usual.

Butter can be just as complex and delicious as cheese. I'm not going to go there all the way right now. But the importance of good butter cannot be underestimated. So I'm literally going to take my butter, smear it on my bread. And Roquefort can be kind of sticky, and a little stinky, and kind of mess up your fingers, so this is a great excuse to use the little fork on the end of your cheese knife. You can literally pick up the wedge like this, put it on your bread, and dig in.

This is Epoisses, a wash rind cow's milk cheese from France. Washed rind cheeses are the stinkers of the cheese family. They are easily recognizable because they tend to have reddish or orangey rinds. And of course, when you smell them there's some pungency and some really aromatic things happening there.

Washed rind cheeses can be washed with any number of things. The most common thing is a saltwater brine, but beer, wine, or any kind of spirits also work as well. Epoisses happens to be washed with Marc de Bourgogne, which is a special spirit that is made from the pressed red grapes from Burgundy wine. So this special wash helps to develop a distinctive and rich flavor.

With washed rind cheeses like Epoisses, you definitely want to eat the rind. The rind is a very important and integral part of the flavor. The cheese becomes tremendously gooey and runny as it ages.

If you take it out of the box, there's a chance that it's going to get stuck to the box and will be kind of awkward to get out. And you don't even need to do that, because to serve this, you can simply dig in a cheese spreader, scoop out a dollop, and put it on to something like bread, or in this case, we've chosen potato chips. An unconventional cheese pairing, perhaps. There's kind of a high-low thing happening here, with the fancy cheese. But it is so satisfying.

Epoisses tends to be creamy, fruity, and a little bit barnyardy. And by barnyardy, I mean you can kind of taste the cow, but in a good way. And so having that salty, toasty, potato chip to serve it on is a perfect match. Take your gooey dollop of Epoisses, put it on your potato chip, and watch the fireworks happen in your brain when you eat it.

This is Winnimere, a raw cow's milk washed rind cheese made in Vermont. The thing that makes it distinctive and special is the fact that it's wrapped in this spruce bark. This is a tradition that originated in France and Switzerland with cheeses like Vacherin Mont d'Or and Forsterkase.

So Winnimere is a seasonal cheese. It's only available each year from January through April, because the farmers want to use that butterfat rich winter milk to make it. The bark is actually from the cambium layer of the tree, which is not the hard outer bark, rather it is the soft inner bark, just below the surface, that actually is used for nutrients to travel up and down. The soft inner bark is harvested from the trees, cut into strips, and then dried.

Before it's put on to each wheel, the cheesemakers will sanitize it by boiling it. And boiling it also makes it flexible again. They then wrap the spruce bands around the cheese and put a little rubber band around them, to keep them from falling off during the aging process. The bark permeates the cheese and really creates a wonderful array of flavors from smoked meat to pine, to juniper, and sometimes even a mustardy flavor.

Winnimere is an example of a cheese where you do not want to eat the rind around the outside. So to serve Winnimere or any bark wrapped cheese, the best way to do it is to cut the top rind off. And I'm just using a sharp chef's knife to do this. And then you literally can peel the top rind away.

And from there, the interior of the cheese is almost like a custardy cheese pudding. And I am literally going to unabashedly dig in with a spoon, smear it on a baguette, and chow down. This cheese is so rich, and complex, and delicious, that a simple sliced baguette is all it needs.

This is mozzarella. Mozzarella is a fresh cheese. They're the simplest cheeses to make. They take the least amount of time to age. And they're the most simple in flavor.

In Italy, in order to call the cheese mozzarella, it has to be made from the milk of the water buffalo. If the mozzarella is made from cow's milk, it's called fior di latte. So technically, all of our American mozzarella is actually fior di latte.

You can slice and serve mozzarella in a few different ways. The simplest way, of course, is to use your chef's knife. And you can simply slice it like this. Another way that you can cut the mozzarella, if you don't want to slice it with the knife, is using a box grater. It's one of the best cheese tools you can have.

This side over here has these wider openings that are perfect for shredding mozzarella. If you're going to be plating it the way that I am today, making a little caprese salad, you probably don't need to use this, because it makes such thin slices. But if you're going to be using the mozzarella to make dishes like lasagna, or topping a pasta that you're going to bake in the oven, this is a great tool to use because you're going to get nice, feathery, even, light slices, which are great for baking. The thinner they are, the quicker they're going to bake, and they'll get kind of browned and bubbly on the top.

But for today, I'm going to plate the mozzarella in a very simple way with fresh tomatoes and basil. And finally, you can dust it with a little bit of sea salt. You drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top and voila.

This is ricotta. Ricotta is one of the world's most popular fresh cheeses. The ricotta that I have here today is made from whole cow's milk, but ricotta can be made from sheep's milk, goat's milk, water buffalo milk, just about any milk you choose.

Since ricotta is such a simple and versatile fresh cheese, you can serve it with a lot of different things both sweet and savory. But today I've decided to serve this ricotta with a little bit of buckwheat honey and lemon zest, to turn it into a sweeter almost a breakfasty type of dish. So we're going to start by drizzling the buckwheat honey onto the ricotta. And then I'm going to zest a little bit of lemon on top of that, just give it a little bit of acidity and added character. And after, I'm going to use a cheese spreader here, smear it on a fresh baguette and enjoy.

This is fresh Chevre, or fresh goat cheese. Fresh cheeses of this kind were probably among the first cheeses that humans ever made. Dates make a wonderful pairing for Chevre.

Take your cheese spreader or soft cheese knife, dig in. You can literally just scoop the fresh Chevre into the middle of the date. The date provides all the sweetness you need. And the cheese being so tangy and tart, it makes a wonderful and contrasting pairing.

This is Burrata, arguably one of everyone's favorite cheeses. But I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The reason people love Burrata is actually because of what's inside the Burrata. Burrata is mozzarella that is stretched and shaped into a purse and then filled with stracciatella.

And what is stracciatella? Strings of mozzarella in salted heavy cream. The problem was, how do you get these strings of mozzarella in salted heavy cream to the person who's going to be using it. And someone came up with the genius idea of forming a pouch of mozzarella and literally stuffing it full of this delicious stuff.

So I'm going to cut into the Burrata with a boning knife. You'll notice that wonderful stracciatella coming out. I love to serve Burrata with prosciutto, which is, of course, a classic Italian cured ham, and a little bit of bread. So I'm literally going to take the bread, cut a nice generous slice of Burrata.

Try to cut up the cheese like this, so that all of the good creamy inside of the cheese doesn't spill out everywhere. And you can put that on top of your slice of bread. Dress it up with a few little bits of prosciutto. Sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper. And finally, you can drizzle a little olive oil on top. And your perfect bite of Burrata is ready to go.

This is Provola. Provola is a fresh cheese that is part of the pasta filata family. But the difference between Provola and other pasta filata cheeses, is that it is firmer and a little bit more aged. Provola and provolone are related. The only difference is that Provola is a smaller loaf, like this, and provolone tends to be very large format provolas.

When slicing Provola or cheeses like this, a chef's knife is the best tool to use, because the cheese is actually quite firm and so you're going to want a larger knife to help you cut all the way through it. I'm going to slice off kind of the end piece here. You can actually eat this cheese outside and all, but it's going to be a little bit dry for making a sandwich with.

I would take this cheese and grate it and turn it into a macaroni and cheese, shaved over top of salad, or shaved over pasta. But so we're going to take our Provola, make nice thin slices, if possible. Layer it onto my bread here, top with a little bit of salami or soppressata, and make myself a little sandwich.

This is queso fresco, a mild fresh cow's milk cheese from Mexico that could be used in a wide variety of dishes. The cheese can then be eaten very fresh or it can be salted and aged for more time, in which case it's going to develop a stronger and saltier flavor. Today, I'm going to serve queso fresco in a very simple way, crumbled over fresh watermelon with a little bit of mint.

Sometimes in the dead of summer, eating a bunch of cheese doesn't sound like the best idea. But a very fresh, bright, acidic cheese like queso fresco is a very refreshing and delicious summer dish. You simply chunk off a little bit of the queso fresco. And we're going to crumble it on top of the watermelon. I'm going to dress my queso fresco salad with a bit of fresh mint, simply by ripping the leaves and putting them on top. And then all you need is a fork to dig in and enjoy.

This is feta, a fresh cheese that was originally made in Greece, but is now made in many places across the world. The thing that makes feta different from other fresh cheeses is the fact that it is packed and aged in a salt brine. Feta was one of the earliest cheeses made by humans and it was made in a climate that was warmer, so packing the feta and aging it in salt brine meant that it could keep for a long period of time. Today I'm going to slice the feta with my chef's knife just into neat slices. And then I'm going to plate it with the olives.

Feta and olives are also a great combination because they're from the same part of the world, and so these two foods have evolved over time and complement each other in a beautiful way. Crumble the feta. And then finally, we will drizzle with a little olive oil. This type of dish is a perfect thing to bring to a picnic or also as an appetizer to start off dinner.

This is Labneh. Labneh is a very dense, thick, and creamy Middle Eastern style cheese that effectively blurs the line between yogurt and cheese. It is very bright, tart, tangy, almost lemony. But because you start with whole milk, it is irresistibly creamy.

Labneh can be served with a variety of fresh herbs or dried herbs. And I've decided today to serve it with a little bit of za'atar, which is a wonderful Middle Eastern spice blend that really complements that creamy, tangy quality of the cheese. Gently sprinkle it on top and then drizzle it with olive oil.

This is farmer cheese, typically a very fresh white cheese that is not pressed or aged. It has a very fluffy texture and a very creamy but subtle flavor, so it's a great blank canvas for a wide range of flavors. Today, we're going to serve it with a little bit of dill, and salt and pepper, and essentially create our own little party dip.

I'm going to start by chopping up this fresh dill. Put a little bit of the dill on the top, as well as a little bit of sea salt, and then some crushed black pepper to finish it off. You can mix the herbs in. You can enjoy the farmer cheese all on its own, or with a crispy bread like pretzels, crackers, or a toasted baguette.

This is mascarpone, pronounced "mascarpon-ay" in Italian, this is a double or triple creme cheese that originated in the Lombardy region of Italy. The terms double cream and triple cream in cheese refer to the overall percentage of butter fat in the cheese. A double cream cheese has anywhere from 60% to 74% butter fat. And a triple cream cheese has 75% butter fat or more, meaning these cheeses are luscious, and creamy, and silky, and decadent.

So today I'm going to top the mascarpone with assorted fresh berries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries, and crumble some of the thyme on top. And we're going to dip in some crusty flatbread. Yum.

This is halloumi. Traditional halloumi is a semi firm fresh cheese that's made from a blend of goat and sheep's milk, and sometimes cow's milk, from the island of Cyprus. In order to be called halloumi, the cheese has to come from Cyprus and being made according to these traditions.

The thing that makes halloumi distinctive and different from other fresh cheeses, is the fact that it has a very low acidity and high melting point. So you can fry it or grill it, and it won't lose its shape or texture. Here I have some grilled halloumi, so you can see the difference between what the fresh uncooked halloumi looks like and the grilled halloumi.

You'll see that it browns and caramelizes in a beautiful way. And it oozes a little bit. But it definitely doesn't run and it holds its shape.

You're going to taste the milky and sweet flavors associated with fresh cheeses, but because the cheese really browns and caramelizes in the pan, you're also going to get some of those more sweet, caramely, and roasty toasty notes. And squeeze a little lemon juice on top. Drizzle it with a touch of olive oil. And if it needs a little bit more salt or a little bit more of a punch, you can drizzle some fresh sea salt and black pepper on top as well.

This is Cotija. Cotija takes its name from the town of Cotija, which is located in the Michoacan province of Mexico. Cotija is a very salty fresh cheese that's used to enhance flavor in many different dishes.

We're going to serve the Cotija crumbled over corn with a little bit of cilantro as kind of a nod to elote, which is a very traditional Mexican dish. You literally can just break off the Cotija and crumble it over top of the corn. And then we are going to just simply tear the cilantro leaves as a garnish on top.

There are thousands of different kinds of cheese. I wasn't able to show you every kind of cheese, but the information that I presented will allow you to share and enjoy an incredibly wide variety of cheese with your friends and family.