The unrefrigerated shelf life of cheese depends on its moisture content. Harder cheeses, such as Parmesan or Romano, have less moisture than soft cheeses like brie or ricotta. Soft, moist cheeses should not be left out for more than two hours. Hard grating cheeses can last longer.
Refrigeration between 35 to 40° F is imperative for most cheeses. While hard cheeses can be left out longer than soft, the cheese will begin to dry out and exude a thin film of its natural oil in a process known as sweating. Serve your cheeses at their recommended temperature to maintain texture and consistency.