I enjoy collecting vintage kitchen stuff, including beautiful teak cheese domes and serving boards. They look nice, especially the domes, but they do not smell nice. Not at all. The best cheese is a cheese with an assertive aroma, but while I enjoy the funk immensely in the moment, I generally do not wish to perceive it over and over, especially after I’ve finished eating the cheese. The culprit here is the wood — to stop the stink, quit serving your cheese on it.
The problem with wooden cheese boards is that they are porous and prone to absorbing the odours of whatever you set on them. These smells linger, and the effect can be unpleasant. (This is also why I have a dedicated allium cutting board — I don’t want my apples to taste of onions.) While I’m sure you could eventually get most of the smell out with baking soda pastes or lemon and salt scrubs, you might not get all of it, and it’s much easier to serve your cheese on a different, non-wooden surface to begin with.
Incidentally, this is why lots of fancy cheese places serve their wares on a slate. (It’s not just an affectation.) Slate isn’t porous, making it much easier to clean, and much less aromatic. All you have to do to clean a piece of slate is wipe it off with a damp cloth. Alternatively, you can also use a glass cutting board. Please note that this is the only time I will ever recommend a glass cutting board for anything, as you definitely should not use them for cutting, because they will dull the crap out of your knives. (Yes, you may have to use a cheese knife to get at your brie on the glass tray, but that’s already pretty dull anyway.)
This article has been updated since its original publish date.