Handcrafted for a wide range of flavors—from subtle to pungent—these ripened cheese offer textures that vary from creamy to firm. They often feature an edible rind and can be shaped in small rounds, logs, or even chunks off large wheels. Milk types vary from cow, to sheep, to goat.
Keep artisan cheese in the refrigerator. Cheeses can absorb flavors, so it is important to keep them carefully wrapped and away from foods that may emit odors.
Once you have opened the cheese, wrap leftovers in wax or parchment paper, then wrap with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. This helps prevent moisture loss and stave off mold.
If mold occurs, slice it off of the surface of the cheese. It should be safe to eat the cheese as long as unwanted mold is trimmed away.
Trim away rinds that are hard and dry before adding artisan cheeses to recipes. Also, remove wax rinds before serving.
When presenting cheese with hard rind on a platter, leave at least one edge of rind on--but position the cheese so that it can be sliced clear of the rind.
The rind on many soft ripened cheeses is edible. Slice your cheese from the center out, like a pie, so that everyone gets a sliver of the prime middle section.
Generally, artisan cheeses are considered best at room temperature. Allow your cheese to sit outside of the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.
Artisan cheese can be presented on a wooden cutting board or cheese plate with a simple fruit garnish and your favorite savory crackers or artisan bread.