Cheesy Peasy – Cheese 101 with I.J. Mellis


Ahead of our Cheese Month event next week, we spoke to fromage expert I.J. Mellis.

In May 1993, Iain Mellis felt that there was a lack of opportunity to buy high quality farmhouse cheese, so located a small, damp, cave-like shop halfway up Victoria Street in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and opened his first store.


Since then, shops have opened in Edinburgh, St Andrews, Glasgow, and of course in Aberdeen’s Rosemount, slowly but surely allowing greater reach to Scotland’s cheese lovers while creating many more along the way.

Many of us are fond of properly stinky blue cheese, but should you not want your treasured cheese board to turn a beautiful shade of green, and grow a layer of penicillin-laden fuzz, here are Mellis’ top tips for storing and serving your cheese:

  • Always bring the cheese to room temperature before serving.
  • When selecting cheese for a cheese board it is usual to go for cheese of
    different milk types from cows, sheep or goat.
  • Cheese should be served before the pudding as it does not taste as well after the sweetness of a desert.
  • Cheese keeps better as a whole cheese, so it is better to purchase a larger piece.
  • Some cheese prefer to be kept cool and others warmer, but most are quite happy between 80C (450F) and 150C (600F).
  • The waxed paper we wrap the cheese in keeps the cheese in good condition
    and allows it to breath to avoid the build up of excess moisture.
  • Store the cheese in a cool pantry, cellar or in the refrigerator preferably in the lower drawer.
  • Do not store cheese with other strong-smelling foods. As a cheese breathes it will absorb other aromas and may spoil.
  • The way a cheese is cut depends largely on its shape and size. The most important thing to keep in mind when cutting a cheese is to divide cheese so that everybody has an equal share of the inside and outside.

Want to become a cheese aficionado? Check out these fantastic descriptions of cheese at the website.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We wouldn’t be mad if someone turned up with a Cheese Cake. No, not the biscuit based, cream cheese laden sweet treat, but a stacked cake of ALL the cheeses. DROOL. (The one below belongs to ABC honourary member Karen – she chose it for her wedding to the lovely Bob).


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