It’s Okay to Judge – Your Cheese

You have expectations, credentials, standards, desired, requirements and firmly planted opinions on why you choose the things you do. I can tell you in an instant, I am super judgey on milk, butter, jeans, make up, nail polish, and hair ties. I know – weirdo! Hair ties, of all things? Really, Keno? I’m one of those crazy weirdos who can’t workout without a non-stretched out tie, it has to fit securely around my hair three times, and no more. And the odds are I have one attached to my wrist or in my pocket at all times. Usually there are no less than 15 around my shifter in my car. Like I said, weirdo. I get a bit judgey when it comes to consumables, dairy products and hotel pillows. And you can bet that I get judgey about cheese.

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But really? What is it about cheese that makes it good, uber good, life altering good, or reprehensibly awful? There are plenty of things here people. Lucky for me, Cracker Barrel has taken the guess work out of finding really good cheese. And as a brand influencer they have taught me the way of the cheese, educating me on what it takes to make a great chunk o’ chez. These people are crazy about their cheese, but that’s not a bad thing – because you know that each chunk is going to taste the same every time, the consistency will be spot on and you can go back again and again for the same high quality result. So who cares if the Cracker Barrel cheese mongers are a little nuts, someone has to be!

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Cheese tasting is a five part process, using all of your senses and sleuthing to really dig deep in get to the bottom of the cheese.

First comes the sniff test. No, I swear this isn’t a third grade “who ever smelt it dealt” it joke. Smell it! Cheddars, like Cracker Barrel, have a range of aromas, are they nutty, stringent, balanced, sour, smooth and even? Whatever smell you pick up on, make sure it’s balanced and no one smell over powers the other.

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Second – open up your cheese and give it a deep, brooding glance. Is it smooth and consistent? Or is it crumbly, dry and uneven? A good quality cheddar should be smooth and even.

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Now – we cut the cheese. *Insert third grade jokes here*.

Each part of the cheese judging process gives way to the overall cheese-perience. So how does your cheese cut? Is it dry and fall apart or does the knife glide through the cheese. Each cheese has its own characteristics – so it’s up to your astute observational techniques to figoure out what is best for your particular kind of cheese.

For this marbled Cheddar, it was smooth, slightly hard, but held together and cut cleanly.

IMG_3010Fourthly – we get to do something you mother never let you do with your food – play with it. Smoosh it. How does it feel? Each sense picks up something new. This cheddar smooshes down but has a slightly springy feel to it. It felt soft to the touch, but didn’t get gooey between my fingers.

And lastly – and personally, my favorite part – is the Savor part of the test. Basically, eat it. Here is where we let the whole experience come full circle. Does it taste different than it smelled? Or the same? How to does it melt in your mouth? Or is it a chewy cheese?

The beauty of cheese tasting – like wine – is there is no wrong answer!! Or at least in my humble opinion. So grab your favorite cheeses, or check out your local cheese monger to see what they have in store and compare your every-day or not-so-everyday cheeses together and see what comes out on top.

Check out Cracker Barrel for their fantastic cheddarrs that fit the bill between perfect for everyday and the obvious entertaining cheese. With a range of flavors and entertaining options, its nice to know this cheese is perfect for all occasions.

*Fine Print* I am working as a Cracker Barrel brand influencer. I was compensated for this post, but all opinions, as always, are my own.