7 things every cheese lover needs
Here's what you need to celebrate National Cheese Lover’s Day.
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It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day, one of many made up food holidays, but arguably one of the best (though I'm partial to National Pizza Day). Before joining the team at Reviewed, I was the editor of Culture Magazine, a publication dedicated entirely to cheese.
During my time with Culture I had the absolute privilege of getting to know cheesemakers, affineurs (the people who age cheese), cheesemongers, farmers, chefs, and all the other passionate folks who handle the wheels and wedges we love. So, naturally, I’ve compiled a list of all the things every cheese lover needs for this holiday and beyond.
No fromage-filled celebration would be complete without cheese, so in case you're looking for recommendations, here's one of my favorite cheesemakers that's currently offering nationwide shipping. I can't get enough of Jasper Hill Farm, and if you haven't ever dug into a wheel of their signature Harbison (now available in a mini version, too!) with a crispy, salty potato chip, you should do so immediately.
I'm a firm believer that you can pair anything with cheese if you keep an open mind, but there are a few staples no cheese board should be without. I typically go for something sweet like Wanna Date? all-natural date spread, something crunchy like Effie's Gourmet Biscuits, and something pickled like the Stone Hollow Farmstead Pickle Set. If you're feeling zany, try a wild card pairing like a soft, slightly tangy cheese (maybe fresh chèvre) with hunks of Raaka Chocolate.
- Get the Wanna Date? Sampler at Food52 for $44
- Get the Effie's Gourmet Biscuits Variety Pack on Amazon for $27.54
- Get the Stone Hollow Farmstead Pickles (Set of 2) at Food52 starting at $24
- Get a 3-Pack of Raaka Chocolate on Amazon for $14.95
3. Cheese knives
While it's true that any knife can cut the cheese, it's also true that certain cheeses are easier to dig into with specific cutlery. As a general rule of thumb, most hard cheeses prefer cleavers or chisels, while other hard cheeses will do well with a shaver. Soft cheeses love soft cheese knives and spreaders, and parmesan actually gets it's own special parmesan knife because it's fancy.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a solid cheese knife set rather than buying each knife one piece at a time. I love this Laguiole 3-piece set from Anthropologie because they're gorgeous, not too flashy, and extra sturdy.
4. Cheese board
You could absolutely use one of your existing cutting boards to craft your cheese board or arrange your cheesy appetizers, but if you're like me and you love an excuse to dress things up a bit, consider a special surface for your curds. For a classic option, go for natural slate. If you want something a bit unconventional yet versatile, try a bold, chunky cutting board.
- Get the Brooklyn Slate Natural Slate Cheese Board Set at Food52 starting at $55
- Get the Fredericks and Mae Chopping Block at Coming Soon for $100
5. Cheese grater
If your National Cheese Lover's Day celebration will include grated cheese in any form or fashion (fondue, anyone?), you'll need a good cheese grater. This sturdy, no frills Cuisinart Boxed Grater is sturdy, efficient, and comfortable to grip.
6. Fondue pot
Nothing says decadence quite like a fondue pot filled with rich, gooey cheese. This fondue set from Boska, a trusted brand among cheese professionals, includes a ceramic pot, oak wood base, four fondue forks, and a burner. Bonus: Your fondue pot can also provide the perfect vessel for a chocolatey Valentine's Day treat.
7. Cheese storage
Believe it or not, cheese is a living, breathing thing. It's true! And therefore, if you want to properly store your cheese, something like the Cheese Vault can be really helpful to extend the life of your cheese. The Cheese Vault is made of silicone and is designed to allow cheese to breath, preventing moisture build up and molding. Plus, it's dishwasher safe.
8. Further reading
When it comes to cheese books there are three main categories: the informative, the decorative, and the cookbook. It's almost impossible to choose my favorites, but my current top picks are a cheese 101 book by a truly prolific cheese world figure, Anne Saxelby, a helpful guide to trendy cheese boards that doubles as a coffee table book, and a cookbook filled with cheesy, comforting recipes by a fellow Culture Magazine alumna.
- Get The New Rules of Cheese: A Freewheeling and Informative Guide by Anne Saxelby on Amazon for $13.49
- Get That Cheese Plate Will Change Your Life by Marissa Mullen on Amazon for $25.20
- Get Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes by Polina Chesnakova on Amazon for $19.95
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.