Who doesn’t love cheese? This is one food that seems to be universal, and perhaps that’s why there are so many different types. Cheese has been around for centuries and the varieties and tastes have only gotten better. Cheese tasting is not only fun but can be an activity in and of itself. There are so many different cheeses out there that working your way through the different types can make an excellent backdrop for a party. Be sure that when you go about your cheese tasting you are educated on the various types, the way in which they came to be, and some other pertinent details. We will delve into the types of cheese so you know what you are getting into and what may rank high on your list. Then you can just build up your repertoire as you move through this fun and educational tasting experience. There is bound to be one type of cheese for everyone because they come from different animals, different sources, and offer very different tastes. So for the food that so many of us love, it can be helpful and rather fun to understand what it’s all about, where it comes from, and just what makes it so very delicious.
You’ve probably never really thought about where your cheese came from. This is one of those things that you never stop to think about, but it’s rather interesting upon inspection. It seems that nearly every culture and every ancient civilization had cheese of some sort. Many cultures have taken credit for discovering it or improving it, but nevertheless all cultures have shared in this delicious gem. Mass production of cheese really helped to make it more accessible as it tended to be geared more for those with money before this. Taking a look at the history can really help you to appreciate what is likely a staple in your diet.
For as many fans of cheese as there are out there, you can find just as many types of cheese. The types are categorized based on a number of different factors including the texture, the look and feel, the source, and the way in which they are formed. When it comes to cheese tasting, it can be quite helpful to understand the various categorizations and what falls within them. Being educated on cheese can not only help your tasting experience, but can also help you to focus in on what you like and figure out why you like it. As there are so many different types of cheese you should know which ones work best in certain cooking, what can be eaten fresh or kept for awhile, and what makes a good choice for a certain occasion.
Though you may have been eating processed cheese all these years, there are so many more options out there. We can tend to get into a rut and when you discover the world of cheese tasting, you see just how many options you have available to you. Though you may encounter some types of cheese that you simply don’t like, there are bound to be some that please your palate. Discovering something new can be fun when it comes to delicious cheese!
How and Where to Learn
There is a certain art to cheese tasting, though you might never imagine it until get into the world of it. There are many groups, organizations, and individuals that focus much of their attention on cheese tasting. There are educated discussions about this beloved food and events that focus on one type of cheese at a time. So if you love cheese but want to perhaps become a bit more educated on it, what is the best place to start? How can you conquer the world of cheese and get into the details of why exactly you like it? There are plenty of places to learn and great ways to do so.
- Local Community Based Event: You might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of cheese tasting events that you can participate in, right in your backyard. Many community centers or community based facilities offer everything from cooking classes to food demonstrations and everything in between. You can find courses or just one time events featuring everyone’s favorite food, cheese.
- Upper Scale Restaurant: Many upper scale restaurants that feature fine dining and the best cuisine will focus on cheese tastings once in awhile. They may offer insight on different foods and since cheese is an excellent topic that comes from all over the world, you can find cheese tasting events as part of their offering.
- Farmer’s Market: Though it may not be as elaborate or fancy as other cheese tasting events, you can really learn about cheese through your local farmer’s market. Those that bring the cheese know everything there is to know about it and therefore are well equipped to answer your questions. This can be a great way to support local food, taste some fresh cheese from your area, and learn a little bit about it in the process.
- Organization Held Event: There seems to be a group or organization out there for just about everything, and cheese is no exception. You may want to search around through Facebook, through Meet Up, or any other local website or forum that can lead you to a cheese tasting. This can be a great way to meet up with others who share your passion and interest in cheese.
- Wine and Cheese Party: This is the most common way to taste cheese because these two elements make a dynamic combination. There are wine and cheese tasting parties just about everywhere these days. You can find them everywhere from a friend’s house to a locally sponsored event to a wine and food extravaganza event that focuses on these two favorites. You will not only learn about cheese but also learn about proper wine pairings and all things of that nature.
- Private Event or Party: At some point in time you may very well be invited to a cheese tasting or wine and cheese party. You can host your own for some great fun or check one out as many individuals are getting in on this craze. It’s a great way to learn and in a very comfortable environment.
Tips and Tricks
The beauty to cheese tasting is that you can really enjoy the food subject and yet learn a lot in the process. When it comes to really tasting a food such as cheese you want to be as thorough with this as you are with something like wine. You want to not only eat your food, but really take it in with all of your senses. Here are a couple of ideas that can make cheese tasting more enjoyable and educational as well.
- Look at the cheese and take it in with your eyes: As you become more adept at knowing your cheeses, you will find that you can tell nearly everything you need to know about a cheese simply by looking at it. You will find that if a cheese is very white, it is usually made from goat’s milk. You will start to see that if a cheese is harder, that means that it’s been aged longer. These clues can come to you just by looking at a cheese, so take it in with your eyes before you pop it in your mouth.
- Smell the cheese: It’s true that they say you smell your food just as much as taste it. Learn to embrace the smell of cheese and know that it may taste different than you anticipate. This can be half the fun, testing your knowledge in this capacity. You will find that smells lurk beneath the surface that you didn’t even realize were there like a nutty aroma for example.
- Get outside of your comfort zone: There are so many different types of cheese out there and you don’t want to limit yourself. Try cheeses that you’ve never tried before, make it a goal to try a different cheese from every country. Pair up your cheese with a good wine or just let the cheese be the main star of the show. Though you may have always loved yellow cheeses in the past, try a good white one for something different. Cheese tasting is all about learning something new and trying different flavors that you have never tried before.
- Try it in your cooking: Though we could all just eat cheese on its own, try it out in your cooking. Be sure that you know how each cheese melts or will hold up in certain recipes, but then get creative with your integration of cheese. Just as you try out new types of cheese be diligent about including it in your cooking as well. This can make for an adventure in and of itself.
Cheese tasting is such a fun activity and yet it offers so much of an educational aspect as well. There is so much to learn about this universally loved food and you will become well versed if you spend some time trying out different varieties. As you have seen, there is a very involved process in making cheese and therefore it’s great to learn about it so that you can understand what makes you like certain types over others. There are cheeses from all over the world and it can be really fun to try them all out. Many people don’t realize just how much variety there is within cheese and how many different categories and types there are to offer. This can be eye opening and cause you to really want to learn more. You can enjoy cheese tasting all on your own, at an event, or as part of an educational course.
The reason that so many people spend so much time learning about cheese is that it is such a beloved food with so much flavor. Though you may have eaten certain kinds of cheese for years, it can be great to get outside of your comfort zone and see what else is out there. Learn to embrace the texture, the look and feel, the aroma, and the taste of the many different kinds of cheese that are out there. Once you know how the process of cheese making works it can really broaden your experience of eating it. Cheese tasting is something that can be enjoyed at any age, amongst any group, and for any reason. This is one hobby that you can really stick with for a lifetime and cultivate over time. So if cheese tasting has always been something of interest, try it out and start slowly. Work your way through the different categories and types of cheese and you just might find that there’s a whole new world out there for you to discover.