Looking for an excuse to get together with friends and enjoy some wine and cheese? Host a Cheese Judging Party with a variety of cheeses and let your friends pick their favorites.
How to Host a Cheese Tasting Party
Read on for tips and ideas for hosting your own Cheese Judging (Cheese Tasting) Party! Let’s get started shall we?
Including a variety of cheese is the most important element to a cheese judging party! You can’t judge cheese without — well — cheese! So what cheese should you include?
You want to be sure you include cheese in a variety of moisture contents (see chart below). This will also ensure you have a variety of textures as well.
Here’s what I suggest:
- Parmesan, Romano
- Brie or Camembert
- Mozzarella or Burrata
I love the idea of serving up each guest’s cheese varieties on his or her own mini cheese board! This would also make a cute take-home favor idea.
Cheese Judging Stations
Give each guest a judging station. I used simple slate boards to hold the cheese along with a few accompaniments like dried pomegranates, arugula, pecans, honey, and crackers.
These snack additions help cleanse the palate. Be sure each guest also has a glass of wine to sip along too.
Be sure each guest knows the types of cheeses so they quickly judge away at their faves. Create a list or label them with toothpicks and little flags.
Cheese judging is an art so make it easier on guests by providing them with a copy of the “Cracker Barrel Tasting Square” below. Click here to download the the PDF.
Here is a brief introduction into more detail of cheese styles by moisture. Most of my choices fall into the medium category but I encourage you to include cheeses from all 4 columns to give guests a wide variety!
Cheese Judging Score Sheet
Every cheese judging party needs a score sheet!
This one divides choices by points and makes it very easy to determine the winner. I love all the details and room for comments.
So how do you fully judge a cheese? Well view the score sheet above as a guide. You’ll want sniff the cheese, slice the cheese, and savor it. Be sure to take a look at these elements when scoring. The main 4 elements of grading the cheese are Appearance, Flavor, Body and Color.
- Flavor Defects (fruity, salty, yeasty, etc)
- Body & Texture (is it grainy? crumbly?)
- What is the Make-Up and Appearance?
- What is the color of the cheese? Marbled?
- What is the rind? Is it dry and cracked?
These guidelines above are a great start to cheese judging!
Did you know there is a World Champion Cheese Contest where 3,400 cheese are carefully evaluated each year? Naturally, it takes place in Wisconsin!
Check out a few of my cheese-lover recipe and party ideas below!