How To Taste Cheese

Which order should you sample your cheeses in, to get the most from them? Mildest to strongest? Soft to hard? Discover the perfect science to tasting cheese.

However, you choose to taste them, make sure you always keep your cheeses at room temperature before serving. Ideally, they should be removed from the refrigerator one hour before serving.

Work From Mildest to Strongest

One of the simplest ways to decide a tasting order is to work from the least pronounced flavours, towards a crescendo of flavour where every taste can be savoured.

Start with the most subtle tastes – a mild Tomme de Brebis, or a soft, lightly sour Chaource can be a great place to start. Then dive into young, soft cheeses with bloomy rinds and fuller flavours, and well-matured, hard cheeses, enjoying their lingering flavours.

Finally, work your way towards the heady heights of flavour, saving the most intense cheeses for last. Often, soft cheeses with washed rinds such as Pié d’Angloys, distinctive blues like Saint Agur and cheeses that have enjoyed a longer maturation period are perfect to close with.

Taste By Type Of Milk

Another distinctive way to decide a tasting order is working through types of milk. Cows’ milk cheeses are the most universal, and provide a good starting point. These can be followed by sheeps’ milk cheeses, which have a characteristically sour tang, refreshing the palate. Finish with a rich Chavroux goats’ cheese, often full of a deep and pungent flavour.

Make sure you cleanse your palate in between each course, with a sip or water or a small piece of bread.

Work Through Big Cheese Families

Every cheese has its own unique family, and these can be another delicious way to set a tasting order. Work through fresh cheeses, white bloomy rinds, Tommes, orange washed rinds, Gruyeres, and finish with blues.

To dive a little deeper into the individual notes and traits of each family, you might also want to group them by milk type and region.

Save The Best Till Last

While there can be lots of ways to choose an order, sometimes we might just want to follow our heart, and save our favourites until the end where we can really savour them fully.

Whether you’re passionate about Le Rustique Brie or a devout fan of Beaufort, make sure you leave plenty of appetite to enjoy your favourite cheese and end the meal on a high note.


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