I love cheese. I love to eat it, and I love to serve it when people come over to my house. In fact, I go out of my way to find unfamiliar, unique, delicious cheeses all the time. But one thing that drives me a little bit crazy when I’m serving cheese is when guests cut around the rind, leaving behind an essential part of the cheese. Granted, the rind isn’t always tasty (though it often is, and the cheesemaker put a lot of thought and effort into developing it) but most of the time, people just assume that it’s not meant to be eaten and don’t even try it.
There are some rinds, however, that obviously aren’t meant to be eaten. Here’s a quick overview:
-The velvety white, gray, or yellow rinds of most soft or semisoft cheeses are edible (Brie, Camembert, Taleggio)
-Wax rinds on hard cheeses are obviously a no-no (Manchego, Gouda)
-Non-waxy rinds on hard cheeses are edible, but might be tough. Parmesan and pecorino rinds add great flavor when simmered in soups and stews.
When in doubt, give the rind a nibble—it could wind up being the best part of the cheese.
Want to host a cheese-tasting party? Use this step-by-step guide.
(Image: Andrew McCaul)