Choosing a Cheese Knife
Father's Day is coming up, and after pestering Dad for days and only getting "love and affection" by way of gift ideas we finally got him to admit to wanting a cheese knife. A quick Google has revealed three basic varieties:
a) sets of small knife/trowel implements
b) curvy knives with little forked tongues at the end
c) knives with holes cut out of the middle
Is one of these better than the others? Are they good for different cheeses?
For cheddar and the like, my favorite is a santoku. The grooves in the sides help prevent sticking.
The best cheese "knife" is a wire. Haven't looked for one in a while but they used to sell a cheese board with a wire attached to one side and a handle on the other end of the wire. It cuts cleanly through the cheese and since it has no "sides" doesn't pull on the slice.
Until a couple years ago we made do with those small knife/trowel implement sets, the little curvy knives with forked tongues and so forth. Those are really "presentation" cheese knives, IMO, the kind you might want to use on a cheese tray, however, they don't really work well.
Then we received a Cutco cheese knife as a gift, which is one of those knives with the holes cut out of the middle, and while I know there are lots of Cutco detractors out there, I gotta say this Cutco cheese knife is the greatest invention. It works great and I wouldn't mind having more than one in my kitchen.
So I recommend the cheese knives with the holes cut out of the middle.
Wire cheese cutters are more effective. It's hard to believe, but cheese is one of the toughest things on your knife to cut. Not that it's hard to cut, but it's hard on the knife. Other than hacking through bones, nothing else will take it's toll on your blade as fast as cheese, since it's so DRY. Most everything you cut in a kitchen with a knife has a fair amount of moisture in it, which tends to lubricate the cut and helps the blade glide through. Cheese, OTOH, is dry, dry, dry...no lube whatsoever. Get a wire cutter.
(Are you sure Dad didn't say he'd prefer to cut the cheese on Father's Day? That's very different!)
If he said he wants a cheese knife, then he doesn't want a wire cheese cutter. He would have said so if he did. I'm not a big fan of wires personally. The wire inevitably breaks and then you've got to replace the wire. Some come with a replacement but once that's used you're on a mission to find a new one--cheese wire goes to the back of the kitchen cabinet, out comes knife. Crate and Barrel sells a couple of reasonably nice cheese knives, one of a cleaver-type design and the other with holes and a curved, forked tip.