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Lucy Saunders
4230 N. Oakland #178
Shorewood WI
53211 USA
@ site name

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"Cheese...Milk's leap toward immortality." Clifton Fadiman
Here are ways to judge a cheese:

Hardness: The style, age or ripeness of a cheese will affect its texture, which also affects its culinary applications. Dense, hard cheeses are often aged; ripened cheeses tend to be creamy and soft. Semi-soft cheeses are sliceable, but can be difficult to grate. Crumbly texture may result from the method of manufacture (e.g., veined Blue cheese) or the age (for example, Aged Cheddar). Young cheese can be chewy and springy. Fresh soft cheese is spreadable and buttery.

Rind: Very hard cheeses such as Parmesan have rinds, or tough outer skin. Other natural rind cheeses include Cheddar and Swiss; most people slice off the tough and chewy rinds. Ripened cheeses, such as Brie, have a floury, white rind that is perfectly edible (though not to everyone's taste!). Other cheeses are dipped in an edible vegetable dye (e.g., Muenster) or a wax or fabric covering to protect the cheese (e.g., Gouda).

Method of Manufacture: Cheese may be cooked or raw, pressed or unpressed, cured or uncured. Most cheeses, unless specified "fresh and uncured" have ripened and aged to some degree. Blue and Gorgonzola cheeses are treated to create the distinctive blue-green marbling and develop their characteristic tangy taste.

Storage: Cheese loses both flavor and essential moisture if exposed to air. Store cut cheese in the refrigerator in an airtight container or plastic wrap (avoid storing cheese in foil). Covered bar portion trays work well for quick service of a bar menu or pub sampler.

Cutting: Cut cheese while it is still chilled, for ease in handlingCutting tools should fit the style of cheese. Soft-ripened cheeses may be cut with a open-blade serrated cheese knife. Aged Parmesans and Cheddars may be cut with a wedge knife.

Serving: Fresh cheeses may be served a little chilled; other varieties should be presented at room temperature for best flavor and aroma. Make sure each cheese has its own cutting knife to keep the flavors distinct. Keep mild cheeses away from strong ones on the serving tray as they may pick up competing aromas and flavors.

Tasting Tips for Cheese

Appearance: Look at the cheese for color and signs of freshness. Does the Brie look creamy and plump, or is there a chalky core? Does the Cheddar look shiny and smooth, or dull and crumbly? Does the Asiago look moist and springy? Each cheese has its own beauty marks, depending on its age.

Flavor: Cheeses may be delicate, fruity and sweet, to pungent and tangy. Take a sip of water to cleanse your palate. Then, slowly eat the cheese, allowing its flavor to permeate your palate. Wait a few seconds to identify any lingering or developing flavors on the palate. For example, a Gruyère may taste buttery and nutty at first, and finish with hints of pears or fruit.

Body: While cutting the cheese, look at how well it holds its shape; while eating the cheese, make note of how it feels to chew it. Some cheeses taste best when melted or heated, so reserve those for menu applications.


TASTE: sharp, tart, creamy, autolyzed (cheddars), mellow, buttery, rich, tangy, spicy, herbal, earthy, nutty, salty, peppery, pungent, acidic, piquant

MOUTHFEEL: creamy, smooth, semi-fluid, crumbly, hard, satiny, chewy, dense or firm, elastic, crumbly, soft, resilient, waxy, grainy, chalky

AGE: young, middle-aged, aged, ripened, cured

COLOR: white, yellow, gold, straw, butter, orange, blue-marbled, green-marbled, ivory (and any other applicable colors)

introduction to beer and cheese
how to taste and evaluate beer
history of Wisconsin cheese

www.beercook.com, Copyright © 2009-2002, by Lucy Saunders. All rights reserved. Note copyright of authors and recipe contributors in bylines and prefaces. Fee required for reprints in any commercial media.

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