Whether you’re into manchego or camembert, there’s a perfectly paired cheese knife for your fromage. The best overall cheese knife is great, but it’s not tailored for that favourite cheese you’re willing to pay top dollar for.
Here’s what you need to know about picking the right cheese knife.
Are you having a couple of friends over for a wine and cheese? Are you hosting the gathering for your local chapter of Cheese Lovers with different platters for hard, soft, and medium cheeses? Are you shaving slices for a mouthwatering ham and emmental sandwich?
The size of your cheese knife matters.
In this picture, the blade of the larger knife is almost the size of the entire smaller knife, handle and all.
If you are having a selection of 4-5 cheeses for a small group of friends, go with smaller knives so they fit on your cheese board better.
This is probably the most controversial of the cheese knives — some people despise them while others simply must have one in their cheese cutting arsenal. They’re good for medium cheeses, they work on hard cheeses, but forget about soft cheeses. They’ll stick like crazy.
Think of them as a peeler for your cheese. They’re great for producing consistent slices of cheese for a burger or a sandwich. Some people like them for cheese boards. But like I said, not everybody likes these.
This one comes with little forks on the end you can use to pick up the slice if your fingers are somehow allergic to cheese.
Let’s just say cheese planers make a good conversation starter at a party.
Hard cheese cleavers
A hard cheese knife looks like a mini cleaver. Because hard cheeses have a lower water content than other cheeses, they tend to flake or crumble when cut.
The cheese cleaver gives you some added leverage to really get in there and pick away at a great grana padano.
Soft cheese knives
These knives have pieces cut out of the blade so the cheese is less likely to stick to the blade.
(Again, with the little fork at the end. It might just be me, but I think the forks are strange.)
Stop peeling brie off the blade of a knife and get yourself a soft cheese knife.
Universal (or medium) cheese knife
Cheese knives that are great for medium cheeses are often called “universal cheese knives.” Think of them as the jack of all cheeses: good at everything, great at nothing.
If you only want to get one cheese knife for now, they are the one you’ll probably want to choose.
Here, I’ve included one with holes in the blade. Although a true universal cheese knife has a solid blade, choosing one with holes in the blade is so much better with sticky, soft cheese. It will save you so much hassle with soft cheese.
Spreadable cheeses, like chevre, are best served with a — you guessed it — spreader.
Spreadable cheeses don’t really need to be cut, so spreaders don’t have a super sharp edge. They have a wide blade so they can aid in spreading.
Plastic cheese knives
I’m not talking about a disposable cheese knife you get at some party supply store. There are companies making high-quality, re-usable plastic cheese knives.
One of their biggest advantages is they are relatively non-stick. This means the slice peels off the blade easier but also it has an easier time gliding through the cheese.
If you look closely, you will see the little wedge shapes on the blade. This is the best design for the plastic cheese knives because it aids with cutting and non-stick properties. Some have what looks like a little speed bump. Those help after you’ve cut, but not while you’re cutting.
While these are great for soft and medium cheeses, I don’t recommend them for hard cheeses. They can break.
My overall favourite cheese knife
There exists a cheese knife that is like no other. A cheese knife that can cut through anything like butter. A cheese knife that deserves a special slot in your knife block. A cheese knife that costs over a hundred bucks.
But seriously. This knife is amazing. You don’t need to go back and forth in a sawing motion to cut a piece of cheese. Just push straight down and it cuts through any kind of cheese you can think of.
(Again with the forks. But I’ll let it slide on this one.)
Obviously, the wholes in the blade make it useless for spreading spreadable cheese but it can still cut through it.
This bad boy is the Global Cheese Knife. Made in Japan. Sharp as all-get-out. Best single cheese knife out there.
The Global Knife (GS-10) is my kitchen pick.