Congratulations! If you’re reading this, chances are good you either bought some artisan cheese or are about to. Good for you. Now let’s talk about how you store it!
The most important thing to know about storing cheese is this: Never store it in plastic!
Cheese is a living, breathing thing. Plastic suffocates cheese. Plastic wrap can also impart an off flavor to the cheese after a day or two.
So what should you do instead? Wrap it!
We send it home with you in cheese paper, but if you don’t eat it all in one sitting, rewrap it in fresh paper. The best alternative is cheese paper. But waxed or parchment paper will work.
What do you mean wrap it? It’s a little like wrapping a present, but there are some tips and tricks that can help you preserve your investment in fine food.
At the store, we use Formaticum paper. It’s specifically designed to let the cheese breathe. And they’ve got a great series of videos to help you master your wrapping techniques. Trust us, wrapping skills are a source of pride for cheesemongers.
What Else Should I do?
- Separate the strong, pungent cheeses. Don’t combine blue cheeses or washed rind cheeses in the same Tupperware as other cheese. They’ll pick up each other’s flavors, as well as molds.It’s a cool experiment to see blue cheese molds growing on your brie, but if that’s not what you’re going for, store them separately.
Store your cheese in the fruit bin. It has the most consistent temperature and humidity. Want to go the extra mile? Move the bin’s regulator to ‘maximum humidity.’ Can’t do that? Store it in the warmest part of your refrigerator. Better too warm, than too cool.
Except for fresh cheeses. Forget all of this if you are storing fresh cheeses like goat cheese or ricotta. Just store them like milk or yogurt.
Don’t forget your cheese. Check it to make sure it’s not getting too wet or too dry. If it’s too wet, it needs more air. If it’s drying out, wrap it with a damp (not wet), clean paper towel and place it back in its plastic container.
Don’t be afraid, just scrape. Mold is natural on cheese. If you find some new mold when you unwrap it, just cut or scrape it off. The rest of the cheese is fine. (Again, unless it’s fresh/soft cheese with black hairy mold – that’s probably better in the compost pile.)
Most importantly, eat it at room temperature! Refrigeration not only dries out cheese, it also kills its flavor. A lot of people will tell you 30-40 minutes. Trust us, it’s 1-2 hours before serving for peak flavor.
But, hey, isn’t the cheese in your own case wrapped in plastic?
Yeah, but don’t blame us. The Health Department requires it. We HATE doing that to our cheese. Also, it would be hard for you to pick a cheese if we wrapped them in paper since you wouldn’t be able to see them.
Don’t worry though. We order just enough cheese for our demand so it’s never spending too much time in plastic.
And you should see us doing what we call ‘facing’ when you ask to taste or buy some cheese: we unwrap the cheese, and take a paring knife and lightly scrape the surface of the cheese. This gets rid of that plasticky taste.
And we’ll never sell you something that is past its prime. We’ll eat it ourselves before that happens!!!!!