Another step of our mini course on how to taste cheeses. We have seen that to taste cheeses we need all our senses. Before tasting we have to follow some tips (How to taste the cheeses: 8 rules to follow), then we have to use sight (How to taste the cheeses: the sight), after we have to touch them (How to taste the cheeses: the touch ) and in the end we have to analyze the smell (How to taste cheeses: smell).
Finally we arrived at the moment we waited for, the tasting. Are you curious to find out what to pay attention to when we taste a cheese? Let’s find out right away!
How to taste cheeses: why do we talk about taste-olfactory analysis?
When we talk about taste we also talk about smell. In fact, with the taste buds we can only recognize if a cheese is sweet or salty. We always need the nose to recognize its aromas. Have you ever eaten with a cold? When the nose is plugged we do not perceive anything of the aromatic sensations of what we eat but we can feel if a food is sweet or salty. So if you wonder how to taste a cheese correctly it is essential to have a clean and functional nose.
How to taste cheeses: taste, quantity and quality.
First of all, as in the olfactory examination, attention must be paid to the intensity. An intense cheese on the nose is not necessarily intense even in the mouth. How many foods and how many wines have you tasted that had an intense nose and then lost in the mouth? In wine it is a very common thing, but the same happens in the cheese world. After evaluating the intensity, we have to evaluate the persistence.
What is it and how do you evaluate persistence? The persistence of a cheese corresponds to the permanence of its taste-olfactory characteristics in the mouth even after swallowing. To evaluate it there is a small scheme:
- Weak: persists in the mouth for 2-3 seconds after swallowing.
- Little intense: between 4 and 6 seconds
- Quite intense: 7-9 seconds
- Intense: between 10 and 12 seconds
- Very intense: more than 12 seconds
How to taste cheeses: taste between flavor, aromas and other sensations
Very simple in appearance. It is a question of distinguishing between sweet, salty, bitter and sour which are the primary taste sensations. But often these are imperceptible. It is therefore not so obvious to distinguish them. There are some little tricks to train. But we’ll see later, as well as the presence of a fifth flavor, umami.
The aromas are released with chewing and are perceived with the nose. They are often different than those perceived during the purely olfactory examination. The evaluation of aromas is a complex operation that deserves a separate dedicated discussion.
Other sensations in the mouth
Do you know the sensation of astringency or spiciness? These are not part of the taste or smell category but are sensations that affect more the tactile aspect of the mouth.
We have selected 4:
Astringency: sensation of dryness and dust in the mouth. It is often tried with peels and fruit seeds such as caki or grape seeds. In cheese it involves an abnormal fermentation and therefore it is not good.
The spiciness: we all know it is that of chili. The seasoning of cheeses causes this effect. For example, when we speak of gorgonzola or spicy provolone it does not mean that they are seasoned with chilli, but that they are cheeses that have reached a more complex maturation.
Metallic sensation: it is the sensation, rare but possible in cheeses, that reminds one of the metal in the mouth. There are not many cheeses with this characteristic among the main characteristics, so if you warn it, most likely it is a defect of your cheese.
Burning sensation: warm sensation similar to that of pepper or chilli but without spiciness. This sensation is also present in aged fat cheeses.
With these five steps we wanted to provide the right scheme to taste the cheeses. By following it closely your approach to this world will be correct. There are still some things to know and you you have to train, but don’t worry with the next article the picture will become more complete.
How to taste cheese: