How to taste aged cheeses
The steps to tasting a cheese properly
- Sensorial observation
- Description of observed qualities
- Compare description with predetermined cheese standards
- Final assessment of cheese
Flavor and aroma test
Odor: break apart a piece of cheese and hold it up to your nostrils, take a deep breath and evaluate the smell of the cheese in terms of quality, intensity and duration of the scent.
Flavor: place ½ oz of the cheese to be tasted in your mouth; chew it in well to heat it up; roll it side to side and back and forth between your tongue and the roof of your mouth; and take note of the 4 fundamental flavors (sweet, salty, acidic and bitter).
Aroma: swallow the cheese; close your mouth and inhale through your nose to define the aromas in terms of quality, intensity and duration.
Texture: evaluate how the cheese holds up in your mouth. Usually, cheese can be classified based on how hard, stretchy, sticky and brittle it is.
Our video: How to properly taste aged cheese
Positive attributes of a cheese
Tasting is based on a predefined evaluation system that allows you to classify every aspect of the cheese being tasted in terms of quality and, in some cases, levels of quality. Below you will find a list of the fundamental categories:
Color: white, milk white, chalky white, ivory, pale hay, hay, rich hay, yellow, yellow gold.
Structure to the touch: sticky, compact, hard, elastic, fibrous, crumply.
Structure in the mouth: buttery, melting, finely granular, sticky.
Odor and flavor: intense, persistent, buttery, herbaceous, hay, floral, pasture, milk, barnyard, typical, aromatic, fragrant
Defects of a cheese
Color: brown or bicolor.
Structure: gummy, soft, sticky, chalky, sandy, grainy.
Flavor: week, unbalanced, fermented, metallic, flat, pungent, putrid, rancid, sulfurous, bitter, salty.