When tasting cheese with beverages, give equal time to both the cheese and the beverage to fully take in their flavors and textures. Use the techniques below whether you are tasting one cheese, or a dozen.
Time Required: Depends on the numbers of cheeses
Examine the Cheese: Take in the aroma of the cheese. Is it mild or strong? What does the rind look like? Is it the type of rind you'll want to eat or avoid? Often times, the flavor and texture of a rind can adversely affect how the cheese pairs with a beverage.
Examine the Beverage: Wine tends to have the biggest aroma, but even a glass of beer gives off an aroma that gives hints to its flavor.
Taste the Cheese: It is important to taste the cheese alone so you can get a full sense of its flavor before it mingles with the beverage.
Taste the Beverage: Because the flavor of cheese can often change the way a beverage tastes, it is important to first taste the beverage alone.
Taste the Cheese and the Beverage Together: Put a small piece of cheese on your tongue. Take a small sip of the beverage. Let the flavors mingle in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. After you swallow, pay attention to the aftertaste, or "finish".
Reflect on the Flavors: Was it a pleasant experience? This is an individual response based on the preferences of your own palate. Did the cheese elevate the flavor of beverage, or make it taste worse? Did the cheese dominate and overpower the beverage, or did they come together in perfect harmony?
- If you are tasting more than one cheese or beverage, eat bread or bland crackers to cleanse your palate between tastings.
- Use these tips for a formal tasting, or simply when you're at home eating a wedge of cheese and enjoying a beverage of your choice.
- Bring cheese up to room temperature before tasting it
What You Need:
- Beverage of your choice
- Bread or bland crackers