What to Buy

7 Shop Essentials for Any Cheese Lover's Kitchen

From knife sets to a very handy cheese grotto.

May  8, 2023
Photo by Julia Gartland

This article is a part of Cheese Week—seven days of recipes and stories, all cheese—presented by our friends at Proudly Wisconsin Cheese.

If you believe cheese is perfect just the way it is and will happily eat it anytime, anywhere, straight out of the package, I salute you. We are cut from the same cheesecloth. But, while teaching wine and cheese classes at Murray’s Cheese, I’ve learned a thing or two: Although cheese doesn’t need anything to shine on its own, there are products that will help you appreciate it in a new way. Whether you're serving it like a pro or making it yourself, read on for everything you need to take your relationship with cheese to the next level.

Photo by Ty Mecham

1. Boska Monaco Black Cheese Knife Set with Leather Roll, $90

The other day, I looked down and realized I was serving cheese to my guests with butter knives. I knew it was time to step it up. These Boska knives don’t just look good—they’ll help your cheese cut into smooth, even pieces and look their best on a charcuterie board. The one with holes and the one with the thin blade are ideal for cutting soft cheeses, as the minimal surface area prevents them from sticking, while the shorter, thicker knife will help you chip away at any block of aged cheese.

Photo by Ty Mecham

2. FarmSteady Italian Fresh Cheese Making Kit, $30

Making cheese can seem complicated and out of reach, but it doesn't have to be. After all, humans have been making it for how many thousands of years? It’s in our DNA at this point. Once you get the method down, making fresh cheese is a breeze. This cheesemaking kit is enough for eight batches of cheese—from mozzarella to burrata, ricotta to mascarpone—so you can whip some up whenever you need it.

Photo by Julia Gartland

3. Cheese Grotto, $125+

There’s a reason mongers wrap cheese in wax paper, not plastic wrap—it needs to breathe. If you’re buying cheese from the grocery store that’s wrapped within an inch of its life, remove it once you get home and pop it in this cheese grotto. You can keep it in your fridge, just be sure to pull it out about an hour before you’re ready to serve so it can warm up. And remember: If your cheese is sweaty, it’s ready!

Photo by Ty Mecham

4. Jasper Hill Farm Cheese Tasting Box, $60+

Is there anything better than a box of cheese delivered to your front door? Jasper Hill has become a household name, and there's a reason their Harbison and Winnimere are constantly on mongers’ lists of favorite cheeses. With these boxes, you’ll taste cheese you may not be able to find at your local grocery store, and trust me, you’ll find a new favorite along the way.

Photo by Julia Gartland

5. Soft Cheese Cutter, $50+

No, we’re not making pottery—we’re cutting cheese with string. Hear me out: Once a soft cheese is warm and ready to eat, it can be tough to cut. That's where this Boska cheese cutter comes into play. It slides through anything from Camembert to Sainte-Maure without crushing it or making a mess, and it can even be used for crumbly cheeses that can fall apart when cut with a knife (I see you, blue!).

Photo by Rocky Luten

6. Microplane Elite Box Grater, $40

Sometimes the preferred method of eating cheese isn’t straight from the block, but tossed, melted, and emulsified into a bowl of pasta. Those of us who have tried to make a bowl of cacio e pepe and ended up with a stringy, oily mess, know that the pecorino has to be grated like snow. For this, you need a very specific grater. This microplane box grater's smallest side will turn any hard cheese block into dust, primed for pasta.

Photo by Ty Mecham

7. Bushwick Kitchen Spicy Honey Duo, $28

We all have a jar of fig jam we pull out when people come over, but this spread has had plenty of time in the spotlight. Instead, opt for something that will surprise your guests: spicy honey. It’s good on everything, from fresh chèvre to Comté, is sweet and spicy, and will make you fall in love with your favorite cheeses all over again.

What's your go-to cheese to enjoy? Let us know below!

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Lee Musho

Written by: Lee Musho

Lee Musho is a food writer and wine expert based in New York City.