Thursday, May 31, 2012

Can you Cut the Cheese?

La famille Getrealfrance just spent the weekend basking in the sun in the sun soaked Island of .... Ireland! A fab weekend was had by all as we caught up with a couple of hundred people at communions, christenings, barbeques and of course, The Pub. Ireland was basking in the sunshine and there is no better nation to make the most of the fine weather with the whole population rejoicing and celebrating the rays , all notions of the big pile of doo doo they are in forgotten about while they collectively licked their 99's.. Ahh, la vie est belle. It's one of the things I love about Ireland and being Irish, celebrating the small things, that, and the laissez faire attitude, the relaxed "sure it will be grand" approach, so different to the French who like to organise their lives to the Nth degree.
Take The Cheese for example. I am a lover of cheese. In fact for 15 years, my diet consisted mostly of cheese sandwiches as I had ideas of being a vegetarian ( a lazy one). France is a cheese lovers paradise with nearly 400 different types of cheese to choose from -  a great place for a cheese lover to live.
But did you know that there is a certain way to cut cheese? Many a time I have been chastised for cutting The Cheese the wrong way and now, when at a French dinner party, I just step back and let the cheese cutting experts do it for me.
Cheese is a relatively new thing for us Irish , having grown up with the heady choice of Galtee, Calvita or if you were lucky, Cheddar, we cannot claim to be experienced in this field and as I hacked into the cheese platter, I was always met with groans from the French  "Beh Non Kar-Hen, c'est pas comme ça" and a cheese cutting lecture would then follow...
First of all, ma chérie, cheese should be served at room temperature and you should leave your cheese out before you commence your meal, to allow it to breathe. You can't taste cheese when it comes straight out of the fridge, quelle horreur!
You see, peeps, every bit of the cut of cheese has a different flavour and you need to cut the cheese so that everyone gets a fair share of the nice bits. Cutting the cheese the wrong way is a mortal sin by French standards, the equivalent in Ireland would be making a pot of tea without boiling the water first or maybe serving bacon without cabbage..
Anyway, here is a simple example of how to cut different varieties of cheese. Now you too can cut the mustard when cutting the cheese ( or just let the French Fromage experts take the lead!). Say Cheese! We're Back in France :)
Cut like a cake, from the centre into cake like portions

Cut from the rind to the end, never sideways

Cut from the rind lengthways 


  1. Thanks Karen, I'm always getting told off.
    How about a pre-cut wedge of Brie? Any suggestions? It's not thick enough to lie on its side....

  2. Oh la la, this could be a minefield! My understanding is that you cut along the length of the wedge. Cutting widthwise is a serious faux pas and cutting the rind off, well, you might as well just go home!

  3. It's not just France!
    We had a friend in the Canadian army doing a course with the British equivalent.
    In the mess, it was cheese time...a wedge of Cheddar.... and he cut the pointy bit off.
    For the rest of the course he was referred to as the man who cut the nose off the cheese....

  4. My dad once traumatised my kids when they had "chopped the nose off" the cheese!

  5. I rarely eat cheese when I go out, preferring to concentrate on the rest of the meal so don't often get into trouble. At home I cut the cheese exactly how I like cos I'm the boss. Ah freedom. :)


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