Cheese Tasting Guidelines
Each time a new cheese is tasted, make notes about its appearance, aroma, texture and flavor profile. Whether tasting one or several cheeses, use the following guidelines:
Taste all cheese at room temperature except for fresh cheeses, which should be cold.
Mild to Sharp, Soft to Firm
Tasting cheese from mild to sharp will prevent the palate from being overwhelmed, enabling you to appreciate the more delicate nuances in mild cheeses. Tasting softer cheeses before the harder types reveals the development of flavor through aging.
Thin to Thick
Take a thin shaving of each cheese and let it melt on your tongue. Then try a large piece that requires chewing. Note the ways the same cheese can taste different.
Learn about the cheesemaker who made the cheese, where the plant or farm is located, and even the breed of cow. The story of the cheese and its producer gives colorful background to the style of cheese being made.
After determining the flavor profile of each cheese, consider pairing complementary or contrasting ingredients with the cheese. Contrast a salty cheese with the sweet flavor of dates, reduced balsamic vinegar, or dried or ripe fruit. Complement a milder cheese by serving nut breads, sundried tomatoes or salty nuts.