We use a straightforward method for our CheeseChatter evaluations. These are:
- Cheese Selections must be New to the Tasters. Each week’s cheese evaluations start with that week’s shopping trip. We try to get cheese selections that will please all of our tasters and do not establish many criteria before we shop. Our only hard rule is that we evaluate a cheese that is new to most of our tasters.
- Cheeses are Evaluated in One Sitting. Although we evaluate 3 cheeses in one sitting, we do our best to review each cheese independently and not compare the cheeses. Invariably though, when we evaluate multiple cheeses at one sitting, any cheese is put into context with its tasting partners. We try to give each cheese its fair due.
- Classic Baguettes Only. We keep our bread simple and prefer classic, french-style baguettes for our tasting. Although we can get great “sour” baguettes–or sourdough loaves–in San Francisco, we use “sweet” loaves for our evaluations.
- Evaluations Must be Written During Tasting. For each cheese, our tasters write an evaluation while they taste the cheese. We first evaluate the cheese on its appearance, aroma, and texture then we taste it. Tasters are encouraged to use descriptive language in their evaluations and make comparisons as applicable. Tasters are also asked if they liked the cheese and if they would buy it again. Our tasters treat their evaluations quite seriously!