Yes, there are some general guidelines to serving cheese to guests. But, unless you’re planning a Parisian adventure, you don’t need to know all the rules. Keep these simple cheese etiquette tips in mind when planning your next gathering.

7 tips and tricks to get you by at your next American gathering

1. A cheese platter should contain three cheeses minimum.

The cheese course could be eaten following the main meal or before dessert if you’re trying to be fancy. We still get pretty excited at the opportunity to nibble on cheese before the meal…preferable when we arrive to the event…with a cocktail.

2. Cheese should always be cut fresh.

When cheese is exposed to air, oxidation and drying occur, along with dispersion of the cheese’s aroma. Should you choose to serve leftover cheese, be sure to trim them carefully. We have no qualms with this advice; crusty cheese is gross.

3. Serve cheese at room temperature.

People often make the mistake of serving cheese cold. When cheese is refrigerated, the cold tempers the aroma and flavor. Take the cheese out of the refrigerator for an hour prior to serving, so it can achieve room temperature.

4. Use a separate knife for each cheese.

When slicing cheese, use a separate knife for each cheese or wipe your knife clean after each cut (especially if you’re cutting gooey cheese). A clean knife will keep up the appearances of your cheese and will help avoid muddling the flavors of the cheese selection.

5. Slice up small, even wedges of cheese.

Cheese should be sliced into small, even wedges with some of the rind still attached. This can be difficult (or impossible!!) with crumbly or soft cheeses. Just try to keep the portions as intact as possible. Some people think cheese rind is gross–we’re not handing out demerits if you choose to slice it off.

6. Serve cheese on a regular dinner plate.

You’re supposed to use a regular dinner plate when serving cheese as a course in a meal. We say use any plate you want, as long as it’s pretty!

7. Serve cheese with classic baguettes, Tuscan round and flatbreads.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate fruits like melon, apples, figs and pears. If you’re going the extra mile add thinly sliced meats like Italian prosciutto, capicola or salami.

Cheryl Says

To avoid getting the last piece of cheese with nothing but rind, cut the cheese vertically, with the rind on top