On Monday, May 15th, our program director, Carlos, and our intern, Daniel, attended a workshop on “sensory evaluation of cheese” at the Boston Public Market. The workshop was put on by one of our members. The Massachusetts Cheese Guild hosted Dr. Montserrat Almena.
This workshop was open to both members of the Massachusetts Cheese Guild and non-members. In attendance were cheesemongers, cheesemakers, owners of cheese shops, and cheese enthusiasts; all of who were hoping to improve their sensory evaluation skills in terms of cheese. The workshop combined lecturing on taste properties and basic sensory evaluation methods, as well as hands on lessons to utilize what was covered in the lecture. Attendees put their senses and new skill set to the test through several challenges including: tastings of several batches of ricotta, each with a different level of a specific taste profile, blind smell identification of a series of food items, and finally, detailed evaluations of several cheeses.
The workshop was a great chance for members of the cheese industry, both professional and hobbyist, to meet each other and work together to learn and garner new skills to use to properly describe and evaluate cheese at the point of receiving, point of sale, and point of consumption by the consumer. Dr. Almena has been working with cheesemakers for over 20 years helping them improve their cheese production and sensory profiles, and she is a strong advocate for local cheeses.
We would like to thank the Boston Public Market for hosting this event, the Massachusetts Cheese Guild for putting this event on, and of course Dr. Almena for sharing some of her wealth of knowledge on a subject everyone in the room has an incredible passion for!
Daniel McElligott, Oldways Cheese Coalition Research Consultant