Cheese / Cheese Basics / How to

Cheese knives: Learn how to choose the right one for your next party.

If you know my style at all by know, you would know that the best cheese knife is the closest one within reach. Yes, grab that katana off your mantle and slice up some gouda, you cheese samurai. That being said, some designers spent a lot of time determining that some knives are better than others, when working with different densities and textures. The diagram below shows you some of the most common cheese knives, which you might encounter at a home goods store or in service at a dinner party:

Reference the numbers on the diagram with the descriptions below:

1. Small Spade

Small spade is a knife that can be used to cut hard cheeses into wedges; and, then spear the cheese with the tip to pick it off the cutting board and into your mouth. Additionally, having a sharp tips let you stab directly into a cheese like parmesan and continue cutting with the long end for added strength when cheeses are just too hard. In fact, you find that any cheese knife with a point will be used in a similar fashion.

2. Narrow Plane Knife

This guy is pretty versatile, but he’s best suited for semi-hard cheeses. Think of cheeses like cheddar or gouda. Because this knife has a sharp end on both the short end and long end, you can use it as a combination flat cheese knife, and press into hard cheeses and finish cutting wedges with the sharp long end.

3. Soft Cheese Knife

Spreading knives. If you find that you’re that guy/girl that always has a baguette around to eat with your cheese, you might want to invest in a soft cheese knife. It’s simply ergonomically designed to spread that ooey gooey.

4. Cheese Fork

Since a cheese fork is not technically a knife, it seems like an odd addition to this list; however, if you have a cheese knife set, or are looking to invest in one, you’ll probably want to get one of these. The point of a cheese fork is to hold one piece of hard cheese while you go at it with another cheese knife. You can use it as a knife if you use it to break apart soft crumbly cheeses, like feta. Think of it like an ice pick to break apart a chunk of ice.

5. Flat Cheese Knife

Flat cheese knives are very common, but not always obvious. You’ll want to use this knife to cut or divide soft cheese. You can also use this knife like you would a chisel and shave down on hard cheeses. Because the bottom edge of the knife has the sharp edge, the cutting motion will always be pressing down.

6. Fork-Tipped Spear

The fork-tipped spear is both a fork and a spear: discuss amongst yourselves. No really, this is one of the most versatile knives you can purchase because it can cut firm cheeses, and then you can pick up cheese to serve yourself or someone else.

7. Open Work Blade Knife

Although this knife looks like Swiss cheese, you’ll only want to use it on soft, sticky cheeses. The holes in the knife keep the gooey cheese from sticking to the blade and ultimately making a huge mess of your cheese service.

8. Gorgonzola Knife

This knife is long and flimsy like a palette knife, and is built to spread soft cheeses. You’re probably asking yourself, “John, but can I use it on Gorgonzola?” Sure can.

9. Cheese Slicer

This guy is great when you want a thin piece of cheese, instead of cubes or wedges. Sometimes less is more, and cutting hard cheeses like parmesan into thin slices makes for better presentation. It’s also great when you want to cut cheese for a sandwich while having consistent slices.

Wrapping up

Now that you know all about the different cheese knives, why don't you pick up a set of your own. There are many affordable options, which you can coordinate with your decor and table scapes to make a truly unforgettable party.