How to Taste Cheese: Best Techniques

Learning how to taste cheese is more complex than you might expect. People have been enjoying cheese for thousands of years. Today, we have more cheese varieties than ever before. But learning how to taste cheese is an art that goes far beyond chewing and swallowing a block of dairy.

Much like tasting wine, tasting cheese is a process that you should never rush through. By taking your time, you’ll have the chance to pick up on all the unique flavors and aromas that a particular cheese has to offer. But where should you start?

How to Taste Cheese: Use Your Eyes

Before you taste any cheeses, you’ll first want to take a look at the cheese in question. Be sure that the cheese you plan on tasting is at room temperature. If you’ve just taken the cheese out of the fridge, the cold will take away from the more delicate flavors of the cheese.

The appearance of the cheese will vary quite a lot depending on what kind of cheese it is. Types of blue cheese will have specks of blue or green, some cheeses might be yellow, white, brown, and so on. You should also focus on the outside and inside of the cheese.

The crust of the cheese may be made of wax, mold, or other materials. The inside may be very soft, liquidy, or very firm.

Use Your Hands

Interacting with the cheese using your hands can give you a good first impression of the cheese’s texture. First, determine its weight. Some cheeses are very dense and heavy while others are very light and porous.

Then, consider its texture. Does the cheese crumble or is it very rubbery? Also, consider the shape of the cheese. Some are formed into spheres, wedges, wheels, and so on.

Use Your Nose

Smelling the cheese at hand is arguably as important, if not more so, than tasting the cheese. The smells that you pick up will influence your palate and how you taste the cheese. Again, make sure that the cheese is at room temperature at this stage.

To get the most out of the cheese’s aroma, break off a piece and smell the fresh edge of the cheese. Most of a cheese’s smells come from fermentation. Some cheeses are far more fermented than others and have more pungent smells. For example, some cheeses may have grassy or floral scents while others may smell more like barnyard, dried fruits, or nuts.

Some may also smell acidic or sweet. If your cheese smells like ammonia, this means that the cheese is too old and has gone bad.

How to Taste Cheese

When you finally taste the cheese, you’ll see how the cheese’s aromas interact with your taste buds. Some cheeses smell absolutely terrible. However, when you take a bite, you’ll find that the flavors of the cheese somehow take the edge off of the rank smell. This is one of the many magical facets of cheese tasting.

Consider what flavor you taste first when you first take a bite. Some are very sweet at first while others are acidic or smoky. Once you swallow the cheese, the taste will continue to change. Bitter flavors may become sweet and sweet flavors may become sour.

Whatever the case, there is no wrong way to taste cheese, so feel free to splurge on some great cheeses and have fun! To try some cheese and hone your skills, click here.

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