Knives are tools, and specialized cutting tasks can go a lot easier with specialized knives. The cheese knife has to do two or three odd tasks very well, and doesn’t really need to do anything else at all. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is a very specialized knife…
Cheese, as we all know, just isn’t all that tough to cut. Warm Brie is just barely coherent enough to be considered ‘solid,’ and even the hardest, driest Parmesan has a Rockwell Hardness rating of…zero. Cheese can be hard to cut neatly, though, because it loves to stick to whatever cuts it.
A cheese knife obviously needs a mirror polish and excellent corrosion resistance. A scalpel-sharp edge, high RHC, and tool-steel edge retention are not crucial characteristics.
Broad-bladed knives are terrible slicing the fromage, and thin, narrow blades are much better. The thinnest, narrowest ‘blade’ imaginable is the steel wire of a good cheese slicer, but those aren’t knives.
If you want a cheese knife, you’ll end up going for a thin, narrow, skeletonized blade like the one on this Victorinox. With a blade like this and a deft hand, you’ll be cutting warm Brie into neat thin slices in no time. These blades are more air than steel, which gives cheese almost nothing to stick to as you slice it.
The second blade is a serrated drop-point blade, perfect for cutting through plastic packaging and waxy skins. It’s also perfect for slicing up the sausage and baguettes you’ll also be snacking on while you’re noshing the Brie. I’ll assume that the toothpick and corkscrew need no explanation.
Victorinox’ perfect picnic tool is surprisingly pricy, at about $50.