DAY NINETEEN

The art of cheese tasting

Chevre + Evoo = CHEVOO

CHEVOO is a Sonoma-based goat cheese company, founded by Aussies Gerard & Susan Tuck in 2015. Marinated Goat Cheese, which typically involves taking a fresh goat cheese and marinating it in an olive oil blend with various herbs and spices is very popular in Australia. Each of CHEVOO’s varietals comprise two complementary flavor profiles. One flavor is blended through the goat cheese and the other flavor is infused in the olive oil using an 8 week steeping process. This two-step flavoring process allows each flavor to stand alone and complement each other, rather than compete with each other.

VISIT CHEVOO

Their Urfa Chile & Lemon has won two gold medals at the American Cheese Society Awards, and it’s got a strong following among die-hard CHEVOO fans.

Tasting – Preparation

  • 6 jars of CHEVOO (one of each varietal) which can be purchased online as a box-set on the CHEVOO website (www.chevoo.com)
  • 1 apple or pear
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • Artisan bread and/or crackers
  • Tasting spoons (either teaspoons from your kitchen, or a packet of small tasting spoons)

Gerard Tuck’s CHEVOO Tasting Guide

  • If taking the jars directly from your fridge, allow them to sit at room temperature for approx 30 minutes (longer is better) before tasting, this way the flavor profiles in the goat cheese and olive oil can really open up
  • A tasting is most fun with friends and/or family, so get a crowd together so that you can see each other’s reactions and talk about what you’re experiencing. Taste is a very personal/individual experience which makes it all the more fun to share with others to compare what you’re experiencing.
  • Start with the mildest flavor (Tupelo Honey & Lime). Pass the opened jar around the group, with each person smelling the jar and then taking a small scoop of the goat cheese, which will naturally be coated in olive oil. Smell the goat cheese and the oil on the spoon, and discuss what aromas you are getting.
  • Side note: Smell and taste are (strictly speaking) separate senses. However, smell sensors inform our taste sensors enormously and therefore smelling a food before you eat it will help you to appreciate the taste more fully.
  • Next, put the spoonful of goat cheese in your mouth. Chew it gently, smoosh it with your tongue. As the flavors are hitting you, describe them to your friends, explain what you are tasting. Hopefully you will get one flavor profile more strongly up front (earlier), and then one flavor profile more strongly after a few seconds, and then you should experience the two flavors coming together.
  • Once you have tasted the mildest flavor, take a short break. Have a sip of water and a palate cleanser (slice of apple/pear, a grape).
  • In regards to ‘what to look for’ when tasting, I would just say to open yourself up to what’s in your mouth. Allow each flavor to wash over you in its own time. Describe each flavor to your friends when you experience it. You might want to describe things based on the five universally accepted basic tastes: Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Salty, Umami (meaty/savory). You might also describe tastes based on comparisons to other things you have tasted or smelled. You may even go into detail about how bright or mellow the flavor is. How much is the flavor grabbing your attention?

Remember, you taste things every day, you’re already good at it.

The trick is to remove the other variables from the tasting experience so that you can focus on what you’re tasting. That way you get a pure experience of what you’re experiencing. This is also why I like tasting with other people, because you can compare notes.