How to get the most out of a cheese tasting experience
Cheese. Who doesn’t love the various tastes and aromas that can tickle your nose and tastebuds, and of course, The Hunter Valley is the prime location for you cheese lovers to run wild with a wide variety of tours and tastings options on offer. We know that cheese has become part of modern culture and while some just prefer the odd snack, others could eat enough cheese to feed an army. But how do you get the most out of your cheese tasting experience? What do you need to consider when booking a cheese tasting experience? Well, we have the answers for all you cheese lovers!
Know your cheese types
There is a big difference between just eating cheese and doing a cheese tasting. In a sense, there is an art to tasting cheese. To encompass the whole experience, you must first understand the different types of cheeses that you are tasting and how they should be tasted. All cheeses are different. They have a personality and it’s important know which family of cheese your tasting falls into. We have outlined below the various cheese types;
- Hard which include cheeses such as Parmesan and Manchego,
- Semi-soft which include cheeses such as Cheddar, Gouda and Gruyere,
- Blue mould which includes varieties of Gorgonzola and Stilton,
- White mould which includes varieties of Camembert and Brie,
- Fresh cheeses such as Feta and Mozzarella,
- Goats cheese with varieties made from goat’s milk.
The cheese expert, sometimes known as a cheesemonger, will be able to answer any questions you may have about the different cheese types while you are doing your cheese tasting tour. They can help you to understand the various cheese textures and flavours and help you get the best tasting experience.
Try a cheese and wine pairing experience!
The Hunter Valley is not only known for its spectacular cheeses but it’s stunning varieties of wine. Surrounded by vineyards, it is the perfect place to try a classic wine and cheese pairing. During your cheese tasting, consider also sneaking in that beautiful glass of complimenting wine. We have outlined below a list of the best cheese and wine pairings for you to try;
- Hard and some semi soft cheeses pair well with full bodies red wines. Try a wedge of aged cheddar with a glass of Cabernet sauvignon,
- Goat’s cheese compliment Sauvignon Blanc perfectly,
- Smooth and creamy brie partners beautifully with a nice sparkling champagne.
When in the Hunter Valley, your tour guide can also direct you to the best local wines to try with your cheese tasting. Try a famous Hunter Valley Semillon with a smoked Gouda cheese. After all, we are famous for it!
Take on-board all of your senses
Going on a cheese tasting tour is an experience meant to make all your senses tingle. It’s important to respect the cheese and let your different senses do the work.
The aroma of the cheese should match its flavour and variety. Consider how the cheese smells and think about how the smell of the cheese could impact on its flavour.
Taste and texture
Tasting cheese is a process. Consider how the cheese texture feels on your tongue and in your mouth. Does it give off a creamy, crumbly or smooth texture? Can you taste its flavour? Is it sweet, salty or tangy? Thinking about the taste and texture of the cheese helps you to get a better understanding for the cheese and a more fulfilling experience.
Allow yourself to take in the flavour of the cheese from when it enters your mouth to swallowing. The experience may surprise you. Does the flavour linger in your mouth? Is it well balanced and enjoyable? Taking on board all of the various cheese flavours allows you to fully enjoy and encompass the experience.
It’s important to remember to cleanse your palate between cheese tastings to allow each cheese flavour to stand on its own and not clash with previously tasted cheeses. Bread or sorbet works and surprising, so does pickles.
Cheese tasting options in the Hunter Valley
As cheese lovers, you are spoilt for choice when choosing where to go to try some of the Hunter Valley’s finest cheeses. With an enormous range of local and international cheeses, your tastebuds sure can get a workout.
Smelly Cheese Shop
Promising some of best gourmet and international cheeses for you to indulge in, The Smelly Cheese Shop has grown from a small business to one of the most well known cheese businesses in the region and beyond. Boasting beautiful tasting platters paired with locally grown olives, oils and store made jams and chutneys, the Smelly Cheese Shop should be on every cheese lovers bucket list.
The Hunter Valley Cheese Company
Established in 1995, the Hunter Valley Cheese Company is a purpose built, operational cheese factory. The company specialises in making cheeses that compliment the wine grapes grown in the region. Offering a variety of tastings daily, including the famous 5 cheese tasting, and the local produce pairing with olives and preserves, the Hunter Valley Cheese Company has something for everyone.
Located in the heart of the Hunter Valley, the Binnorie Dairy is one of Australia’s premier soft cheese suppliers. Open daily from 10-5, the dairy has one of the largest tasting selections of soft cheese in the country. Pop in for a tasting plate and experience everything that Binnorie has to offer.
Hunter Belle Cheese Room
Hunter Belle is a family owned and operated establishment specialising in locally made artisan cheese and produce. With a huge range of creamy brie’s, bold cheddars, and flavoursome feta’s as well as a collection of milk, butter and yoghurt, Hunter Belle always has something new for you to try.
Choosing a cheese tasting tour in the Hunter Valley
With so many cheese tasting options available in the Hunter Region, the smartest option is to book yourself on a cheese tasting tour. Have a tour guide drive you from tasting to tasting without you having any hassles and you can take on the full cheese tasting experience. Let Hunter Valley Tours look after your experience. With multiple tour options available, you are in safe hands with Julie and the team at HV Tours. Don’t let valuable cheese tasting go to waste. Indulge, enjoy, experience!! Book your tour today!