How to Serve & Store Swiss Cheese
Whether you’re hosting a wine and cheese night, or simply slapping a slice on your favorite sandwich, Swiss makes a tasty choice for any occasion.
But did you know that following certain practices for serving and storing Swiss can help to both maximize flavor and prolong freshness? Here are our best tips for getting the most from your Swiss!
- Store it Properly
Have you ever noticed that when you buy pre-sliced Swiss cheese at your local grocery store, there are usually little pieces of parchment paper included in the bag?
That’s because the best way to store Swiss is by first wrapping it in parchment or wax paper instead of in plastic.
Yes, plastic wrap is super easy to use (and we’ve all wrapped cheese in plastic wrap before), but remember how Swiss cheese is made from delicious fresh milk and a precise blend of bacteria? That means that real Swiss cheese—like other cheeses—is an organic food whose composition can easily change based on temperature, the air around it and its ability to “breathe.”
So when you wrap Swiss tightly in plastic, you can actually change the composition and flavor of your cheese. We bet it makes those little pieces of paper in your cheese packaging make a lot more sense now!
We know what you’re thinking: “But how do I keep it from going bad if I can’t wrap it in plastic?”
Good question. You can still keep your Swiss fresh by wrapping it first in parchment or wax paper (or even a plastic wrap made especially for cheese), then loosely in plastic wrap on the outside. When properly wrapped, your cheese will keep in the fridge for three to four weeks.
You can also freeze Swiss cheese by following the same method above (paper first, then loosely in plastic wrap) and adding a final layer of heavy duty aluminum foil. Your cheese should last up to six months in the freezer using this method.
- Serve it Properly
Sure, sometimes you’re in a hurry and just want a quick snack, but we promise you, cheese just tastes better when it’s allowed to come fully to room temperature, especially when you’re dealing with Swiss.
Swiss has a distinct, yet delicate flavor, with a slight nuttiness. It takes precise conditions to develop Swiss, and once the cheese is ready, its taste can be affected by many factors, including temperature.
This fact is no more evident than when you melt Swiss (yum!); all the great characteristics of the cheese are there, but melted Swiss is an altogether different experience than cold Swiss.
While, of course, you should refrigerate Swiss until you’re ready to eat it (see below), take up to an hour to allow Swiss to come to room temperature to enjoy it at its best and fullest flavor. It’ll be worth the wait.
- Re-Store it Properly
Let’s say you purchased a particularly delicious block of Swiss cheese. You took the time to grate a few ounces over a flavorful veggie flatbread, and now you have about half of a block left for another recipe tomorrow, or to cut slices for crackers for a late night snack.
Make sure to re-store your cheese properly following the same steps we listed above (paper, then plastic)!
Once Swiss is cut (or grated or sliced), it can begin losing moisture. If the leftover block is returned to the fridge without being properly wrapped, it will quickly begin to dry out, lose flavor and be far less enjoyable the next time you feel like nibbling.
Plus, if it remains exposed to the air around it, it can pick up flavors from other foods. While we’re sure your Thai food leftovers are delicious, we bet it’s just not the same to taste a bit of green curry in your next bite of Swiss.
So there you have it! With a little extra time and patience, you can get peak flavor from your Swiss cheese for several weeks.
Learn more about Swiss cheese, or browse Swiss cheese recipes.