The Cheese Connoisseur’s Tool Kit
Cheese is a must in any well-stocked kitchen, whether it’s grated Parmesan for pasta, cheddar for grilled sandwiches, or a variety of picks for the perfect cheese board. And when you’re investing in quality cheeses, you want to have the right equipment on hand, like storage wrap that extends the life of the cheeses and graters that help you achieve just the right consistency for any given recipe. In this week’s guide you’ll find all of our top-rated tools for storing and cooking with cheese, along with our favorite ingredients for the ultimate cheese board.
Hosting a party for fellow cheese lovers? Our book All-Time Best Appetizers features information on popular cheeses plus lots of cheese-centric recipes, including Spicy Whipped Feta and Baked Brie with Honeyed Apricot. You’ll also find other ideas and inspiration for your next party, including how to stock a bar, assemble a menu, and properly prep crudités.
This wax-coated paper, lined with thin, porous plastic, kept cheddar, Brie, and goat cheeses free of mold and dryness for three solid weeks (though by week four the cheddar developed traces of mold). You get a box of fifteen 11 by 6 1/4-inch sheets, with stickers for sealing and labeling the wrapped cheese. Simple and durable, the sheets let us open and rewrap cheese multiple times.
BUY FOR $14
This Microplane grabbed the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle that was slightly more comfortable and secure than that of our old winner. Otherwise, their grating surfaces are identical, so they both shredded cheese, zested lemons, and grated nutmeg, garlic, and ginger with ease. The Premium Classic came sharp, stayed sharp, and looked as good as new after testing. We do wish it had a wider surface so it didn’t form a trench in our cheese while grating, but it’s still the best option out there.
BUY FOR $13
These 11 by 6½-inch wax-coated bags resemble bakery bags, but their insides have the same porous plastic layer used in Formaticum Cheese Paper. The bags kept Brie, cheddar, and goat cheeses free of mold and dryness for three weeks, letting the cheddar dry out just slightly in the fourth week. Slightly more convenient to use than the cheese paper, the bags didn’t need stickers to seal: We just folded over the ends a few times to close them.
BUY FOR $9
This simply designed, dishwasher-safe grater, with an extra-wide barrel and comfortable handle, blasted through chunks of cheddar and Parmesan and produced perfect chocolate shavings and mozzarella shreds even after stiffening up a bit. Our only complaint: The plastic body created static that made chocolate shavings jump from the barrel onto our hands and clothes.
From the originators of chemical etching technology, this model frames four super-sharp grating planes with tough plastic, making it easier to handle than other etched graters. It quickly and flawlessly grated mozzarella on its large holes and rendered perfect shreds of ginger and Parmesan on its fine holes. But hard carrots and potatoes bounced off its thin metal surface, shortening the shreds.
BUY FOR $29
This handsome pan consistently produced crisp, distinct grill marks. It had the highest ridges of the pans tested, keeping food well above rendered fat. It weighs a hefty 10 pounds (without the press), but it’s the solid cast-iron construction that accounts for flawless heat retention. It has ample room and a scrubbable enamel coating.
This porcelain baking dish has large handles for secure gripping and straight sides for easy serving. It’s deep enough for Chantilly Potatoes, but not so large that the butter burned as we broiled scrod. Finally, it was not too heavy, even filled with potatoes.
BUY FOR $56
This dish is nearly the same height and thickness as our winner but has a shelf-like indentation all the way around the inside rim and a slightly smaller capacity (2 quarts plus 1/4 cup). It gave soufflés just enough room to rise without going over the edge—but it was close.
BUY FOR $20
Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny. It resisted warping and cracking, showed only minor scratches, never seemed “thirsty,” and—despite its heft—was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end.
BUY FOR $100
Highly Recommended (For Cheese Plate Only)
We think that Wisconsin-based Edelweiss Creamery, which emulates traditional Swiss methods, including the use of copper vats for flavor development, makes a better Swiss cheese than the Swiss—and for a lot less money. This cheese’s “grassy” nuttiness makes it worth mail-ordering, but don’t melt it. Those flavors turned “funky” in grilled cheese.
Highly Recommended (For Cheese Plate Only)
The rich “savory,” “almost gamy” flavors that make this cave-aged raw-milk Swiss import eminently worthy of a cheese plate (and command a high price tag) also render it unsuitable for melting. It made for an “oily” grilled cheese with a “lingering metallic taste.”
This cheese was one of the youngest in the lineup, but thanks to an extra cocktail of bacterial cultures, it wowed tasters with “deeply rich,” “buttery” flavors and a “sweet” finish that reminded some of “pineapple.” It boasted a “crumbly” yet “creamy” texture reminiscent of “young Parmesan.”
This raw honey had “big flowery flavor,” with “rich,” “bold” notes of “citrus,” “clover,” and “anise.” Tasters loved this “complex” product’s “mild” sweetness and “slight acidity,” which added “brightness” to honey cake.
“Tender” and “buttery” with a “very nice porky complexity” and a “salty punch” that came from having one of the highest sodium levels in the lineup, our top choice was “sweet, rich-tasting, and acorn-y.” Tasters were wowed by its “silky,” “ultrasupple” texture that was highlighted by the meat being sliced very thinly. Fried up in chicken saltimbocca, it continued to win fans: “The prosciutto really elevated the dish . . . with rich, meaty flavor.”
$5.75 ($1.92 pBUY NOW
With a “nice porky sweetness” and “clean” but “intense” flavor, this prosciutto was one of the most thickly sliced in the lineup, but its ample moisture also gave it a “supple,” “silky” texture. In saltimbocca, it was lauded for its “rich pork belly flavor.” In sum: “Buttery, nutty, complex. This is good stuff.”
$3.59 ($1.20 pBUY NOW
All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.