Enjoying Cheese

Preparation & Presentation

Cheddar Cheese

Choose whether you plan to present the cheese in the centre of the table or at stations for guests to cut themselves, or as individual servings for a more formal tasting.

Remove cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 hour beforehand to come to room temperature, but try to unwrap it and cut it as close to serving time as possible.

For individual servings, present cut wedges of cheese arranged in order of tasting* on large, individual plates. Place the first cheese at the ‘12 o’clock’ position followed clockwise by other cheeses in the order of tasting.

Alternatively, use the Cheesematters Placemat to arrange the cheese onto. The placemat can be printed out, filled in with the cheese names, laminated and positioned at each place setting.

You may also like to present extra cheese in the centre of the table, for guests to view and sample from if they wish to have more.

Order of tasting

Arrange the cheeses in strength of flavour – from mildest (usually the Goat’s or Fresh cheese styles) to the most robust or well-matured (eg. this might be a gutsy blue cheese or well-developed washed rind).

Labelling cheese

Provide labels for each cheese, if you are serving a central cheese platter or stations. You can download the Cheesematters Label template to type in the cheese names, print out and fold into tent cards.

Otherwise, for a more formal sit-down matching, use the Cheesematters Placemat which you can easily fill the cheese names on, print out and laminate .

Glassware & plates

Provide one suitable glass for each wine and arrange in a line, in order of tasting, above the plate or placemat.

Provide a champagne glass for sparkling, white or red wine glasses as needed, and either port or extra white wine glasses for dessert wine. Also provide a water glass.

Provide a side plate and napkin, placed on the left of each setting, for accompaniments.

Accompaniments/Palate cleansers


For a formal matching, keep the accompaniments simple so as not to overpower the cheese and wine. At a minimum, provide some sliced fresh bread, like a crusty baguette or crackers. Avoid flavoured crackers which may interfere with the matching process.

Crisp green apples or firm pears are wonderful palate cleansers. Present them whole with a knife alongside so guests can slice as needed, to avoid browning. Bunches of fresh grapes are also refreshing accompaniments. Make sure you provide plenty of water for refreshment as well.

For informal cheese tastings, as the emphasis is not on matching, you might like to extend the accompaniments offered to include:

  • Fruit pastes – quince, fig, plum
  • Nuts
  • Fresh or Dried fruit
  • Cheese twists and crackers

Cheese knives

Cheese Knives

If serving a central cheese platter or cheese stations, then ensure there is one knife for each cheese, and encourage guests not to mix flavours.

For plated individual servings of cheese, allow one knife per person.

Whilst cheese knives are very handy to cut and extract a piece of cheese with the prongs on the end of the knife, a sharp knife will also suffice. A butter or pate knife can be used for softer cheeses. Marinated cheeses in oil can be served with a small fork or spoon.