Cheese lasts for a lot longer than most people realise – providing that it is stored correctly. Domestic fridges are usually too dry and lack humidity which can lead to the cheese drying out. I recommend using waxed paper which allows the cheese to breathe whilst protecting it. Most quality cheese shops will sell cheese wrapped in waxed paper.
Failing that, you can use cling film, but remember if you do use it, only wrap the cut face of the cheese, allowing the rind to be exposed to the air. The cheese has been breathing through the rind ever since it was made and needs to carry on doing so in order to stay in the best possible condition.
The ideal place to store cheeses is in a stone larder in a cheese ‘safe’ but as modern homes don’t usually have these, we recommend using the salad crisper compartment or just a plastic box in the fridge. This preserves the humidity and keeps the cheese in better condition. If a mould does develop on the surface of the cheese, simply scrape or cut it off and enjoy the rest of the cheese.
Cheeses should always be served at room temperature, therefore need to be taken out of the fridge in good time to allow them to warm up. However, cheese does not like being subjected to too many fluctuations in temperature, so it is best to take out as much as you need. If you have a large piece, simply cut off as much as you need for your cheeseboard or tasting and leave the rest wrapped as described above.
Hard cheeses will take at least an hour to come to room temperature, whereas smaller softer cheeses may only need 20 – 30 minutes, so make sure you plan ahead.
I would recommend that you allow 100g per person in total for a cheeseboard or a tasting, so if you have 6 people and 3 cheeses, you will need 200g of each cheese in total.