How should I store my cheese?
Small production, artisanal, farmhouse cheese is handmade, varies with each day’s production and changes as it matures. It’s therefore less about hard and fast rules, and more about following some general guidelines to keep your cheese in the best condition whilst storing and enjoying it.
We sell our cheese wrapped in waxed cheese paper, which does a great job of balancing humidity whilst allowing it to breathe. We recommend keeping your cheese in this paper if you can, but if you do want to wrap your cheese in cling film or foil, try to wrap only the cut side and use a fresh piece each time. If you need to replace the waxed paper then baking paper is a good substitute.
Cut pieces of cheese should be kept in the fridge to slow the growth of mould on their cut surfaces. However, it is important to be aware that refrigerated cheese is more likely to dry out, particularly if it is not wrapped. The best option is to keep the cheese wrapped in its waxed paper in a box in the fridge. The container will help to prevent the cheese from drying out and prevent the cheese from absorbing other flavours.
Should I take my cheese out of the fridge before serving?
Rather like wine, if cheese is served too cold it tends to taste bland and inert. As a general rule of thumb you should bring it out of the fridge a couple of hours before you plan to serve it. You should also keep your cheese wrapped in its waxed paper whilst it is coming up to room temperature, to avoid any risk of it drying out. If it is especially warm you should reduce the amount of time the cheese is out of the fridge accordingly.
How long will my cheese last?
There’s a huge array of factors which affect how long cheese will last, but as a general rule we would recommend eating your cheese within 5-10 days of receiving it.
If you need your cheese to last, buy larger pieces as these tend to last for longer. Also, buy it as close to when you want to serve it as possible (although if you are having your cheese delivered, also remember to allow for a few days leeway in case of delivery disruption).
If you have any concerns over whether your cheese is safe to eat, please drop us a line and we’ll be very happy to help.
How much cheese should I buy?
As a general rule of thumb, we would recommend roughly between 100 and 150 grams per person for after dinner, and a bit more if cheese is the focus of the meal.
If you are buying cheese to serve over a couple of days or as part of a buffet, it is advisable to buy a few larger pieces. This will both look better and keep better than many small bits.
To help visualise weights, a good tip is to consider that a regular supermarket pat of butter weighs between 200 and 250 grams.
Should I eat cheese if I'm pregnant?London Cheesemongers does not offer medical advice on cheese and pregnancy, but we can share with you what we know about cheese.
Women can still eat cheese safely during pregnancy, but should avoid soft, semi-soft and blue cheeses, which may contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacterium causing Listeriosis. It is this bacterium that presents a risk, rather than raw or other unpasteurised milks. Listeria does not occur naturally in milk or cheese, but its presence indicates contamination of either the raw material (milk) or environment (cheesemaking equipment or ripening areas).
Hard cheeses that have matured for a year or more (such as Comté or Gruyère) are safe to eat, despite being made with raw milk. This is because the environment created on and in the cheese after this time is hostile to the growth of harmful bacteria. Fresh cheeses made with pasteurised milk are also safe to eat, such as our Burrata.
The world of cheese and cheese-making is vast and varied, and we can’t cover everything here.
If you have a question that we haven’t been able to answer here then we would be very happy to hear from you. You can either send us an e-mail here or call us on (020) 7730 2088.