Fonterra Food Services
resources : Professional Advice
Appreciating Cheese - Principles of Sensory Evaluation
Visual
Sight is the first port of call for the senses. Among the things to look at when evaluating cheese are the size, colour, shape, texture, transparency and visual defects.
Odour
The olfactory epithelium, located in the upper part of our nasal cavity, is the sensing device we use for detecting odours. Odour and appearance together make an overall index of quality. Together, they are responsible for a large component of our opinion of a product.
Taste
The taste buds can recognise four basic kinds of taste: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The sweet / salty taste buds are located near the front of the tongue. The sour taste buds line the sides and the bitter taste buds are found at the very back.
Not all taste sensations are readily sensed. Salty takes a fraction of a second to detect whereas bitter may take several seconds but lingers.
Taste sensitivity depends on the individual. Each person differs in the concentration of a substance required to detect a given taste. The lowest detectable concentration of a substance is called your threshold level for that substance. Approximately one out of four individuals is "taste blind," a specific problem related to certain bitter compounds.
Mouthfeel
The final component to the flavour of food. This is a very important factor that must not be overlooked. The body of a cheese can be described by mouthfeel, ie gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.

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