Author Topic: Cheese Taste Test  (Read 2294 times)

Offline tskeeter

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Cheese Taste Test
« on: April 05, 2013, 10:25:19 AM »
Had neighbors over last weekend and conducted a taste test on some sharp cheddar I smoked back in February.  The purpose of the test was to compare the flavor of Tillamook sharp cheddar and Costco sharp cheddar to see if the higher price per pound of the Tillamook was justified.

Both cheeses were smoked at the same time on the same rack of the smoker to minimize variation in smoking conditions.  I let the cheese warm up and dry for an hour between taking it out the the refrigerator and putting it in the smoker.  I used an hour and  twenty minutes of apple smoke.  The only cabinet heat was the puck burner, so the cabinet temperature was probably in the 60 - 70 degree range.  A bit lower than the 80 - 90 degree range that is often recommended.  I did not leave the cheese in the smoker to bloom after the smoke last puck had been pushed off the burner.  I think a blooming period would allow the cheese to absorb more smoke. 

Observations:
1.  Prior to smoking, the Costco Cheddar had a slightly more pronounced orange color than the Tillamook.
2.  When I opened the vac pouches, the Costco cheddar had a stronger smoke aroma than the Tillamook.
3.  When I sliced the cheese, the Tillamook was more firm and dense than the Costco.
4.  Six different testers unanimously agreed that the Costco had a more pronounced smoke flavor.
5.  Testers ate about twice as much of the Costco cheddar as they did of the Tillamook cheddar.

Conclusions:
1.  Both cheeses were very tasty and well received.
2.  The variation in tester cheese consumption indicated a pretty clear preference for the Costco sharp cheddar.  It appeared that most testers consumed the one slice of the Tillamook necessary to perform the evaluation, but they consumed multiple slices of the Costco.
3.  Given the density difference in the two cheese samples, the higher density of the Tillamook cheddar causes the cost per serving of the Tillamook to be higher than the cost per serving of the Costco cheddar.  However, considering the relative level of consumption of the two cheese samples, the Costco product could be more expensive to serve your guests and family if they consume more servings of the Costco cheese than they would of the Tillamook cheese.
4.  I've been smoking the Tillamook cheese on the premise that a premium brand is better than the Costco house brand.  No more.  I'm gonna be smoking the cheap(er) Costco stuff from here on out.  People like it better.   


Offline terry08

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Re: Cheese Taste Test
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2013, 05:39:47 PM »
Great test, and you can't argue with multiple taste buds. The proof is in the amount consumed. Seems Costco won hands down. Thanks for the info.

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Offline Keymaster

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Re: Cheese Taste Test
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2013, 07:14:55 PM »
Awesome review!!!
I am a big fan of Tillamook cheese. I recently purchased a off brand of medium cheddar and it is better than Tillamook smoked.

Offline tskeeter

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Re: Cheese Taste Test
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2013, 04:33:32 PM »
Follow up observation.

I had two pieces of the Costco cheddar in the same vacuum pouch.  Taste tested one and put the other in a zip lock in the fridge.  Took out to eat a week or so later.  Seemed like much of the smoke flavor was gone!  What a surprise.  Tillamook holds its flavor very well.

I'm going to have to do a "hold" test on an additional sample to see if I had a case of bad taste buds or if the Costco cheese really does lose flavor after it has been out of the vacuum pouch for several days.