The cheese is cut with the right knife, in the right shape and paired with the right wine

A dialogue with Alina Iancu – passionate about wine and cheese, organizer of „Revino Bucharest Wine Show”, about the knives used for cutting cheese, how to organize a cheese platter, but also about some possible associations with two young wines from Franco-Romanian Domains.

How to cut and how to serve cheeses

In order to enjoy a cheese platter, there are some basic rules you need to follow:

  • The cheese is not served directly from the fridge, it has to be removed 30 minutes before being placed on the table.
  • The cut needs to be made with the appropriate knives.
  • Each type of cheese is cut into a different shape for easy identification on the plate. Often, the size of the cheese block „tells you” how to cut the slices.
  • In order not to mix the flavors, every time we cut an assortment of cheese, we wipe the knife or change the knife (possibly with a different format).
  • Different varieties of cheese should not touch on the plate, so as not to transfer the flavors from one to another, especially when they are not obtained from the same type of milk (cow, sheep, goat).
  • The number of different cheeses on a plate (usually) can be a maximum of 4 or 5. Enthusiasts can, of course, add even more types of cheese.
  • Do not overlap other products (honey, jam, olives, nuts, bread) over cheese. All additions are placed on the plate, however, only next to the cheese.
  • On any cheese platter there should be a cheese with a neutral taste, for those who do not like complex cheeses, possibly for children.

What knives to use for cutting cheese

Some of the cheeses can be cut with a normal kitchen knife. Other types of cheese, due to their consistency (very soft, or very hard), force you to use a certain knife size. For soft cheeses, if we do not use the knife correctly, they can become unsightly or stick to the knife. For hard cheese, if you don’t have the right knife, it crumbles or breaks. Each type of cheese has a specific knife that is suitable for cutting. In case we cut different assortments with the same knife, we have to remove it or else we mix the flavors.

Cheese-tasting knife

This type of knife is used individually and is not employed to cut cheese from the block. Instead, it helps to taste the cheese slices, which can be cut and grabbed without touching them with your hand. At the same time, you’re free to use a knife and a fork, especially in the case of very soft or very fatty cheeses.

How to taste the cheese

  • The crust of the cheeses should not be removed for better evaluation.
  • The cheese, like the wine, is evaluated first visually (crust, maturation), then olfactory as you cut it or break it and only finally, it is evaluated by taste.
  • The cheese made of cow milk is tasted first and then followed by the sheep’s and goat’s cheese.
  • The soft cheese is cut and picked up with the tasting knife, while hard ones can be grabbed or broken directly by hand. However, if we choose to touch the cheese, we must wipe ourselves with a napkin before we get our hands on the glass of wine, so as not to leave traces.

Feteasca Regală 2019 from the Franco-Romanian Domains

A fresh wine, aged in stainless steel, with floral notes and ripe yellow fruits, doubled by mineral notes and a very good acidity.

For a special pairing, we recommend two young matured cheeses: goat cheese with white mold and Ţaga cheese (cave-matured). Even if both assortments match Feteasca Regală, the most balanced combination (equal intensity of cheese and wine flavors) is, by far, goat cheese with white mold.

Merlot 2019 from the Franco-Romanian Domains

A young wine, aged in stainless steel, with a firm texture (but without being too astringent) and a fresh taste, which brings out juicy red fruit notes.

This time, we combined two extra-matured cheeses: Horezu sheep’s cheese and Tekerői cheese. The most balanced combination was with Horezu cheese, Tekerői cheese having a higher aromatic intensity „capturing” the wine.

Complete your cheese platter

There are no set rules, everything depends on our personal preferences: fresh fruit, dried / candied fruit, nuts, almonds, honey, jam, olives. Ideally, the flavors of these additions can be found, in part, in cheese or wine, to complete the taste experience.

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