When buying cheeses: 

(1) Look for a good, reputable cheese monger and make sure they offer samples.

(2) Take your time in the cheese shop – study the signs, the descriptions and the visual characteristics of the cheeses.  “Window shop.”

(3) Be sure that the cheese looks fresh.   The more rustic the rind and the more natural the color, the better the cheese is likely to be.   The interior of the cheese should be free of mold, unless it is a blue cheese. 

(4) Take note of the type of milk that was used in the production of the cheese, where it was produced, how long it was aged, etc.  You will begin to learn more about the cheeses by writing this information down.

(5) Taste before you buy.  This is key, even if you have tasted that cheese a dozen times before.  You want to make sure the cheese is fresh.  If the cheese is past its peak, you will begin to taste ammonia.  If so, ask for a fresher piece or buy something else. 

(6) Buy only as much cheese as you are planning to use within the next day or two.  If you have to buy more, then cut off only what you need to serve and store the rest.

(7) To bring out the flavors, always bring cheese to room temperature before serving. 

Experiment with different types of cheeses – it is the best way to discover what you really like!

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