At Cheese Grotto, we’re all about living your best cheese life. That’s why we make sure you have all kinds of good information at your fingertips—like how to store cheese, how to buy cheese (like from our online cheese shop) how to pair cheese, and the best cheese knives. We even published an entire guide on how to eat cheese that covers everything from sourcing to serving.
In this post, we’ve got a cheesy pro tip that will totally change the way you enjoy cheese: You should let your cheese come up to room temperature before you eat it. Here’s why.
Cold Mutes Flavor
If you’ve ever pulled a hunk of cheese straight from the fridge and dug in, you probably noticed that the cheese didn’t taste like much. That’s because fat is the carrier of flavor, and refrigerator-cold temperatures make the fat molecules in your cheese contract.
This means they can’t easily spread over your palate when you take a bite of that punchy cheddar or creamy Brie—and you get a bite of cheese that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good as it should.
Cold Affects Texture
Eating cheese cold also means you don’t get to experience its creamy, luscious, supple textures. Animal fats are solid at room temperature, and refrigerator temps firm them up even more. Just like a stick of butter fresh from the fridge isn’t great for spreading on bread, chilly cheese tends to be hard and waxy—even soft cheeses like bloomy rinds and washed rinds.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to ensure that the cheese you eat is as delicious as possible when it hits your tongue: let it warm up before you take a bite.
How to Bring Cheese to Room Temperature
Giving your cheese a chance to shake off that refrigerator chill makes a huge difference in your eating experience. This process of letting cheese revive itself from the depth of your fridge is called relaxing or tempering, and here’s how to do it.
Remove your cheese from the fridge at least an hour before you plan to taste it. Do this even earlier if your space is particularly cold, or as little as 30 minutes before if you’re setting up a picnic outdoors on a hot summer day. Your goal is to get it to room temperature, or around 68°F-72°F.
If you own a Cheese Grotto, your cheese is already unwrapped, and all you have to do is take the whole thing out of the fridge and put it on the counter. (Or, if your space is below 70F, you can keep your Grotto on your counter for up to 7 days to enjoy room-temp cheese without the wait.) If not, now is a good time to remove your cheese from its packaging.
Place the unwrapped cheese on a plate or right on a cheese board. You can lay a clean, lint-free cloth over it, invert a bowl over the cheese, or pop it into a cheese dome to protect it and keep it from drying out.
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your tempering cheese, especially if it’s hot in your space. Too much time above room temperature will allow the fat to separate and bead on the surface of your wedges, and nobody wants that.
Now, the hard part: waiting until your cheese is the perfect temperature to dig in and eat!
Have you tried letting your cheese come up to room temperature before eating? What are your favorite tricks for helping cheese taste its best? Tag us @cheesegrotto on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and let us know!