What is a Palate
Put simply your palate is located at the roof of your mouth and works with the nose and tongue to determine taste. Consuming strong foods and drinks can affect a persons ability to taste by overwhelming the palate, this is why is it’s important when tasting cheese with depth of flavour to use a neutral, low-taste or tasteless palate cleanser, in order to “wipe the slate clean” and assess new flavours in detail. Everyone’s taste palate is different, and with practice can be developed to understand and describe flavours experienced in good cheese.
4 great palate cleansers when tasting cheese
Lets talk about palate cleansers. A good palate cleanser should have little taste or aftertaste and remove food residue from the tongue and roof of the mouth so your next tasting experience isn’t tainted by other food, allowing your palate to do its job and assess flavour accurately.
Cleanse your palate with water
It doesn’t get more simple than a glass of water. An easy way to wash food out of your mouth and prepare it for new taste sensations. Very useful when consuming a creamy cheese like Brie de Meaux PDO. Fizzy water can be particularly good for rinsing the mouth area and very lightly flavoured citrus water can sharpen the palate.
Apples are great palate cleansers
The fresh fruit taste of apple works as a great palate cleanser for the taste buds, as the natural acids in the juice refresh and sharpen the palate. Apple is a great addition to a cheese board for this very reason and compliments delicious cheese with a depth of flavour like Blue Stilton PDO.
Bread neutralises strong flavours
With its simply starchy texture it is understandable why bread is popular among wine tasters needing to absorb previous flavours and cleanse for the next tasting. Plain white bread has a neutral flavour and assuming you don’t spread anything on it, is a great (and enjoyable) way to cleanse your palate before tasting great cheese like Époisses PDO.
Neutral biscuits or crackers as palate cleanser
Biscuits or crackers are a natural choice to enjoy with cheese, but if you’re intending to taste cheese with a lots of depth, you need to stay away from strong tasting biscuits or crackers, particularly ones with herbs, fruit, etc. Choose a clean and plain biscuit that has no aftertaste. Great for a hard-cooked cheese like Tête de Moine AOP.
Editors note – This post was originally published in April 2019 but has been updated to improve the information