Globally, cheesemakers produce a remarkable number of distinct cheeses. Across the diverse range of flavors, aromas, shapes, and sizes, the one constant is always milk. Cow, sheep, and goat milk are the basis for most cheeses, with the exception of mozzarella di buffalo and somewhat less renowned soy cheese.
Sweet yet clean, cow's milk is most able to absorb and develop the intended flavor profile without asserting its own inherent traits. Common cheeses include Parmigiano-Reggiano, Comté, and most cheddars.
Fresh or aged, goat's milk is inherently tangy and herbaceous. Common cheeses include Crottin de Chavignol, Caprino, and Wabash Cannonball.
Sweet and nutty, sheep's milk is often described as wooly. Common cheeses include Abbaye de Belloc, Pecorino Ginepri, and Vermont Shepherd.
Soft cheeses are easier to cut and arrange when cold. Use a cheese harp for a clean cut.
Harder cheeses such as aged Gouda are much easier to cut at room temperature. Use a sharp cheese knife with an offset handle.
Never precut bite size portions more than 30 minutes in advance or the cheese will dry out.
If you are creating a cheese course, arrange the cheeses from mildest to strongest and let guests know where to start.
Once your cheeses are plated, provide separate knives for each variety of cheese. Using the same utensil for a blue cheese and a mild cheese will only make the mild cheese taste like the blue cheese.
Help your guests remember the cheeses they enjoy most — write the names of cheeses directly on your cheese board.