Sensory Judging Cheese : Tuesday Night is Cheese Night #15 with Charlie Turnbull

#TNCN 15 with Charlie Turnbull. Charlie and his guest Tanny Gill look at the sensory judging of cheese, and what are the techniques and tricks of the trade.

BROADCAST ON 14th July 2020 – 8.00PM


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Sensory judging of cheese Episode Video Transcript 

It’s Tuesday night it’s cheese night. Let’s get started, Hi my name is Charlie Turnbull, I am always trying to examine, it is Tuesday, it is cheese, it’s eight o’clock.

We have tonight a really interesting session uh we have been uh talking about something called the virtual cheese awards which i don’t know if you’ve picked up we talked about last week they are filling the void because no one’s cheese judging this year because we can’t cover the rules and they have done something that haven’t been done before they are promoting cheese by doing it virtually they’ve been sending cheeses all around the country to judges sitting in their offices in their top bedrooms maybe in their basements uh and we’ve got one of those judges with us tonight which is tanya gill so let’s go and find him bomb with a bomb teddy are you ready hi i’m leo how are you charlie i’m extremely well how are you i’m very very good thank you very good very good so you’ve been judging today for the virtual cheese awards uh tell us what was it like yeah it was was was was amazing it was quite interesting workforce awards as you said uh done for the first time with lockdown and social distancing in mind but keeping the cheese going uh it was very very well coordinated uh got 46 different cheeses sent across all the way to scotland 60 46 yes how long does it take 46 cheeses uh so we were scheduled for uh to do the charging in two hours but it kind of lasted for about four and a half hours so so yeah so i don’t know yesterday you had a big hamper turn up at your door yes and and i’m assuming all these cheeses were individually wrapped and you couldn’t tell what packaging they were is that right yes so they were um they it was actually personally delivered by the by the virtual cheese van guy it was not a courier it came on friday all chilled and every cheese was individually wrapped with a label and a number which caught which kind of matched with its sheets i kept them in the fridge and got them out an hour before the judging started and followed the sequence uh every sheet was about 200 220 gram size yes manageable so the same is the one we’ve got there that we’re going to look at in a second that sort of size yeah something that’s easier before we go and talk about judging and how it works and and the importance of it being blind because you cannot make um a biased decision um tell us a bit about yourself teddy who are you why are you here i’m your thanks for having me charlie i’m here because um uh i’ve spent the last 17 odd years in the british cheese industry i came traveling from bombay and ended up on the isle of mull and worked for the city you know paul mccartney’s singing in the background i thought why not stay yeah no but paul mccartney’s on the mulligan thai the southern part i’m on the northern part wow just just south of sky and uh i was with the reeds uh the reed family christened jeff absolutely lovely people and i didn’t know what i was doing i was just there living at the farm eating some great food and and making cheese with 5 000 liters of milk every day which is quite good and physical like the energy part of it and till few years later i realized that this is something really serious accidentally visited harrods one day on my first holiday in the uk and i went to the food hall and i introduced myself at the cheese counter saying uh um who i’m a cheese maker and one of the persons came and said excuse me can you come through the back door and i was like oh my god and then the manager came and showed hands and says oh so nice to meet you it’s amazing and i’m thinking i’m really sorry i’m really sorry what’s wrong over here but it was because and then that’s when i realized that this was something really serious what i’m doing and so i think the cheese makers the cheese makers you anymore with they’re revered they’re revered by chefs they’re the art of keeping flavor profiles in your head when you’ve so much of what she’s making is invisible uh it’s it’s almost by sort of a magical sense of how to make it when it’s raining how to make when it’s dry how to make it when it’s winter it’s summer um it’s it’s it’s an art it’s a real light it is absolutely it is an art and also um what’s happening is today the modern cheese makers are not only using that part but they’re supporting that part with a lot of technology so like you rightly say yeah so they’ve got database or information stored on their computers in the cheese making rooms where if it is 24 degrees outside how high are you going to heat the milk how much less so we would look back and say temperature outside 24 degrees uh green grass feed and it will give us that in the last 25 years these are the readings that we’ve taken so it gives us a lot to work on which is quite nice to see technology used with tradition and and work on that you think it you think it’s a benefit you don’t think it takes the kind of the bit out that kind of extra ignore then maybe the art goes away i think that extra that the bit you talk about that’s always there and that comes with years and years of being there and and that’s when you become a master in it but when we as as new newbies or youngsters joining in no one that said twice when we join in it’s very difficult for them to explain us why are they doing this but then they tell us like i used to always question why are we doing this and she’ll say come and ask me the same thing six months later and that was the answer why we did it six months ago so absolutely fascinating absolutely well in particular the cheese like adama which is a lived cheese and and real benefits of the decisions you made during the make don’t appear for six twelve maybe longer months so yeah absolutely twelve eighteen months yeah absolutely now you’re working for plaques i think which is edinburgh yes we are just based out of indra we are um specialty food distributors and cheese is one of our main categories uh uh clarks has been about for 25 years in scotland now yeah and you you were telling me earlier that you’re 85 food service so covid has you know cut you off the knees it has yeah but thankfully a lot of the independent speciality food shops have really picked up in times like these and people preferring to go to small independent shops under big supermarkets so cheese and other artisan foods has taken main stage again which has been a kind of a revival a lot of a lot of people really enjoying going back to their local shop um feeling more comfortable feeling safer there and rediscovering foods that they haven’t tasted around right we need we need to keep going i’m just going to pull out allison’s there saying she’s tasting she’s made her own cottage cheese so people trying cheese making at home so good for you anderson and um uh we’ve got we’ve got mason here he’s he’s hurling abuse already at both you and me sort of uh so nice to see you stay stay stay talking to us we’re happy to be heckled aren’t we right you’re judging let’s talk judging so let’s let’s set the scene uh you did 45 cheeses here that’s a lot for it for a judging thing the world chase will usually do about 30 i think yeah yeah you’re right there is a lot i think um as you probably know that we when we meet at various other judging events has including awards when you know such a big number we tend to we don’t need to eat a lot you are nibbling away to get the taste and the flavor profile and that’s interesting because even people friends say how much cheese are you going to eat and yeah you’re not really eating otherwise you end up with the cheese sweats and and also you eat a lot of apples you know cleaning of your palates like cheese apple cheese apples get through a lot of water so so let’s set the scene for the people out there you’ve you usually you approach a table in your case you’ve probably laid it out in a kitchen table i’m guessing and yeah and the first thing you do is you say right let’s put this in strength order because you’ve got to lead up to the big flavors um big blues at the back anything that like i mean i’ve got on a plus here that we’re going to taste in a second going to be a big flavor going to leave that for last so the soft cheese is the fresher cheeses we’re going to bring on first now we’ve got for our tasting uh two cheeses that have been sent to us that are part of and i’m just going to do a plug here the people’s choice cheese box okay so you can you can uh the virtual cheese awards is all about supporting cheese makers it is not for profit any money that gets made let’s hope they make some goes to swap bursaries for cheese makers so we like that and you can order the people’s choice cheese box that sounds very lady diana um at uh 45 quid that gives you lots of cheeses and these go forward to you can taste along and contribute to the winners in some way that is explained to you on the website um 45 quid what else do i need to tell you oh yes if you want to be part of the saturday event if i’ve understood this correctly and no doubt they’ll tell me if i haven’t you need to order tomorrow or today tomorrow to be part of that so that’s a good bit of fun be part of the judging team for the people’s choice uh and we’ve got two of those haven’t we we’ve got this champ yeah which is a wee goat’s cheese log putting on my west scottish accent there you’re doing well uh uh which my my i’m going to turn my light down because i think it’s it’s making it difficult to focus this oh that’s better so you can see not if you can see that but it’s got a kind of just a gooey on the outside with a firmer towards the center you’re also seeing a little bit of orange on there um then it’s got a dark rim and a white on the outside and yours is much the same there tany yeah very much experience cheese judges what are we gonna learn straight away what pickup are we gonna see there i mean looking at it of course we know it’s a good smell category interesting uh what we’re looking at um is really the freshness the lightness lemoniness coming through uh the goat’s milk now i’ve got a beautiful little slice oh yeah as you say very rightly i’m going to take try to show this on the camera if it can be shown beautiful lovely creamy notes on the edges slightly chunky in the middle and that’s what we want because more will make it quite runny and milky so so we would look at this and there’s there’s two well there can be no rind but we would look at this cheese we’re not going to know what it’s going to be in a calorie it’s probably tell us only that it’s goat’s milk so there’s two questions we might ask ourselves one what is the rind two what do they use to set it or coagulate it now classically old school goats logs were fully lactic set which means they would be using only acid to make the cheese set but modern cheese making they will be introducing a degree of rennet up to quite a lot of rennet now i’m looking at this and tanya don’t know what you think but this feels to me like a rennet set cheese what we’re seeing here you’re right yes definitely does does feel like when i said cheese because it’s the setting is quite compact yes it’s it’s quite together it’s not loose explain to me by a cheese maker that a reddit set cheese has um if you cut through it it has that impact a bit like putting your thumb over a tennis ball going the wrong way it has lots of little bits that flip fluff up does does that make sense yes so it’s an indication of a of a lactic set cheese whereas a reddit set has what you’re talking about this um the dense texture which can go on to make really good hard cheeses and make quite so we’ve got so we so so as a learning from a judge point of view we’re going okay it’s a modern interpretation the second thing we’re looking at is the rind now again the old school the sun murder terrain would have a dear try comrade uh uh or something like that so a yeast based right but do you think this is chia choy tony do you mean what do you think this rind is so i think this is um traditional i mean an adaptation of a tradition it’s probably a food ash that has been dusted on and there is underneath which comes through which gives a beautiful white snow dusty look to it so it’s not looking black but it’s looking almost kind of delicately white and you can see that it’s like it’s got a little dusting of flowers i think i’m gonna slightly disagree with you here and this happens when you’re judging i think this is a predominant this is a mixed sign with a lot of camemberty in there i think there’s i think there’s a fair amount of of camabetti mold with the g with the yeast still very fragile which suggests has it is not a straw full camo barrier so again um uh that’s telling us a bit about the cheese so so what a way to we would take away as judges here is this is not a classic style this is a modern interpretation it’s going to be part of the assuming it’s british the british renaissance and cheese so we can’t bring to it any precedent it stands alone in its favor it’s going its own direction oh right should we taste it see all that we’re judging this cheese we haven’t tasted it yet it’s got a very thick creamy texture isn’t it very creamy yes and it’s interesting you talked about the rind because same cheese when you taste it without the rind is very different too when you taste it with the rain now this cheese i believe um has i’m not going to use it in a in a rude way at all but the texture is almost towards that vash kiri you know that soft pasty texture which gives sweet easy eat but the rind adds quite a lot of complexity getting a bit of mustiness you’re getting rid of mushroom almost meaty notes to it milky creamy to that meaty finish that comes from the rain absolutely right you know and a little bit a little bit little bit of bitterness as well there is coming in from the right correct i mean i think without brine it almost feels like you can eat it as a spreadable cheese almost terrible yeah almost credible and that’s a good kind of way of creating a balance of having the rind and the pate together to give almost two different flavors in one one bite yeah i mean when you’re tasting canned berries um they will often encourage you to taste the gooey element the inside the rind separate from the center which is often differently flavored so i’m just gonna do that they’re very closely flavored actually there’s not a huge difference yeah there’s there’s just a little more sourness in the center i think we’ve got the chalkiness in there [Music] instant cheese very interesting yeah so at the end of the program team we’ll tell you what these were so you can enjoy them we’ll have the big reveal uh but this is i i would definitely describe this as a very modern interpretation of a traditional style um and the flavors and textures have moved materially away from old fashioned delivered some nice creamy textures things good we’re not judging these because um the people who make them might be watching and we’re not going to be um it’s not they’re all good cheeses love these cheeses it’s good it was great and probably even the same cheese as we talked earlier about its um texture and the pate the same cheese could be eaten slightly younger it will give a more different profile it’ll be a lot more fudgier fluffy on the palette here which is an evening a more extreme example the flavor profile in a press moves a lot even over a few days so it can be yeah so so danny let’s go to number two and say we are the judges um what are you gonna learn about this cheese that’s now so this is a this is the blue cheese so so what’s our first impressions visually what can we tell i’m visually looking at those lovely light green blue cavities that are coming through the pate or the body of the cheese across interestingly not often you get to see the rind of blue cheeses maybe but if you do get to see that’s totally totally fine and 100 edible because these cheeses are wrapped in foil and they want to have that wet moisture all over and around it it’s totally down after the people are listening so uh foil wrap sort of comes from what you might think of the rock for santa girl um blue vern school of cheese making where you’ve got a high level of moisture in the cheese itself and you often have a loose assemblage occurred which means you get quite big holes and actually this one here nicely shows that that kind of little cavity in there which compared to something like a stilton which wouldn’t show that you’d get the the mold coming through when you needle the cheese and it would spread out more you could spied away you could see you could see the needle marks coming so the other really obvious thing tani is it’s it’s it’s not it’s it’s a funny color isn’t it yeah so it is so this is gonna so it’s got a part is orange in color clearly um something has been added to it which is most likely a natto to get that color so which is again very interesting that you get a blue uh cheese with an orange pate which kind of stands out by itself which is again really nice all other things aside it’s great for marketing yeah absolutely absolutely so let’s let’s pick up on that anato so the most famous uk cheese uh traditional style for a natto for blue would be a shropshire blue but that’s a harder cheese than this this cheese is of a softer school um so we’ve got what i would argue is probably a french based recipe using a natto to colour it so then it feels again like a modern interpretation there’s no standard that this this is going to be a brand not a pdo or something like that so what do you think about anato as a flavour affecting additive obviously it makes it orange do you have a view about what you think it does to flavor um no i don’t i don’t think it really does much to the flavor i think it’s it’s uh it’s purely historically and i think even today it’s more of a static uh tradition that has been so even french cheeses like me mullet that use the orange color to to make the pate or the body look a bit more color i have not i don’t know if you’ve come across in there particularly uh changing the flavor profiles or making it different the skill of thought that i come here is it’s not supposed to affect flavor okay that is the theory um but in real terms the difference between shropshire blue and stilton is very very very little you know they make it exactly the same way except one’s got an arto in it and one doesn’t um and so when i look at how they are impacted on the palette i always think that shropshire blue has a softer less bitter slightly sweeter outcome than stilton so i’m i lean towards it having an impact and it tends to soften the flavors off it’s like like a not soft filter on some flavors um but i’m quite happy to be massively disagreed with so if you guys watching this today i have a comment on whether you think anato impacts on flavor let’s get the discussion going have a view um so what do you think so tell me about the texture you’re experiencing yeah lovely kind of very buttery rich creamy and you can see that on the rind um i like the i like the the the blue the waning of the cheese has almost become green and and those little green molds have got a bit of almost um a growth of fur on it which i really like that it almost talks about the aging of the cheese which is kind of quite nice and yeah and always give that meaty vegetable finish to the palate yeah i would say vegetable having a strong vegetable note and i would go um winter feedy kind of vegetable um vegetable those kind of slightly fermented grasses slightly fermented herbs absolutely and very comforting yeah very little struggling it’s not like it’s not delicious and it leans to me towards a british bitter so i’m thinking that would be a nice compliment to this uh a british sort of bitter cheese so so now these first two cheeses we’ve looked at do not have precedent they obviously have roots in other areas of cheese land you know yusuf nato is old school the recipe for this the orange blue here we’ve got echoes some of those southern french blues and likewise we’re looking at these mulled ripe small ripened uh goat’s cheese which you know ghost juice is possibly one of the oldest cheeses of all time this has a very history but how do you judge something that doesn’t have a precedent well that’s very interesting and it’s a it’s an amazing question also that you’ve asked typically with the international cheese awards that’s a classic one often when someone’s judging a traditional cheese from a certain region that you’re not aware of how do you judge so it’s like a french coming and judging the territorials for us what is this and or or we go and judge so when we were in uh spain two years ago and the amount of manchegos coming through so that’s very interesting i think that’s where in the judging scenario we are quick to also understand someone who understands that better to see it from a perspective very quickly because it’s very difficult to judge a manchego or 50 manchester from a cheddar perspective or one person so um like you say rightly you know forgetting everything we know a bit about children we do understand a bit about continental blues but what we are tasting this is purely on its own merit yeah we are tasting it we’ll be feeling it and it’s for today at this point it could be different tomorrow or day after but for now i’m just going to make this point someone else is picking up mr bjo baby is um uh making the point that she’s with the nato as a hobbyist he’s making a point but you know the great thing about hobbyists is that they get it wrong as often as they get it right so they get to see the edges of possibility possibly more and he says that reggie’s is often smoother and less pecan so i think that i think that’s interesting i think that’s interesting um so so going back to what you’re saying so when you’ve got a judge on its own and that gives the classic thing of like to what extent is judging subjective and to what extent is it objective i mean we you and i think that we are qualified judges but where do we cross the line going okay we’ve done as much objective judging now we’re just going to decide do we like it and what is that is that is that is that a real thing the judge is allowed to say whether they like things or not i i think absolutely i mean often you will see on a table with a group of four or five when you taste something you are naturally bound to go oh my god you know without even feeling or trying to control your emotions you’re straight away now how we explore it is is is different but that emotions come take over straight away and that’s the beauty of being honest about judging as you say you know and you can see that across the board whether it’s continents or whether it’s in britain and also sometimes people who are very new they just emote with what they like and what the thing about judging money yeah there’s that moment you know some people call it the wow factor some you know other people um uh call you have more sort of objective wave expression they say it’s got great balance you know something i was trying to explain uh we do this in academy choosing we teach actually it’s like how do you explain balance when everything comes together and it’s just right you know and i would say it’s like a band right you can have some crappy band doing oasis in a pub and it tastes or it sounds awful but you can have the same tune done by a proper cheese maker a proper band and you are blown away by its quality and yet the principle the recipe in cheese way and the and the music and the four piece band is is sort of a parallel there and i was i was trying to explain this and i was using a scottish analogy sometimes when you only have one flavor it’s amazing it’s like listening to bagpipes the difference between listening to a good bagpiper and a bad bagpiper yeah exactly exactly so so cheese can be like that she’s going to be like that really kind of it’s the the quality of the musician corner the cheese maker makes sense of the opportunity right you you’ve got one that you’ve brought at the table tell us why you like what you got yeah i’ve got i’ve got this one um i just thought um something really interesting something really nice and um also it kind of stands out by itself um so this is um a hard classic english territorial uh matured one and what i wanted to show you was again lovely coloration along the rind um changing it very gently and it was it was the reason also i got it and was because this afternoon when i was judging i had the sunlight come through the cheese it was almost a glow ball on my cheese board sitting there which was beautiful and i was like i don’t want to cut it because it looks so beautiful but the minute i cut it it tasted absolutely amazing and i was like wow so i want to get this cheese tonight and have it on the board and talk about it it’s a classic i think it’s one of the very classic uh red listers a matured red lister and for me even more special because of the maturity it takes me back to my mull days looking at a cheddar that lovely snack when it’s nice and mature you get a beautiful bite and you don’t get the flavor till you make your way through the bite to the flavors coming through it’s not like something like a soft put it on flavors are immediately coming and that’s what i thought would be quite nice to bring it on and also it’s got color which hopefully will add a bit more flavor to the screen that we are on today so do you know who makes that cheese i’m guessing i think i think it’s sparkling already left so i may be wrong but joan david clark you just like the name clark don’t you it’s just like a thing i’m married to it like so bring on the clarks well absolutely fantastic and you know they say look at that like yeah and it’s great to see what i always think of um a bridesmaid never the bride type cheese and red leicester is so often in the shadow of cheddar bluntly and so a cheese that is i mean i’m told that in the 30s red leicester’s most popular cheeses in the uk so it’s really it’s been popular in its time but over the last the last sort of 70 or 80 years have not treated it well and we’ve seen some pretty thin flavored cheeses labeled as red leicester um so to see you really promoting one of our the great cheeses of the uk because it’s impressed you today and i love your description of sun okay well what i’ve got here um is going to be familiar it’s a very very well-known cheese so i wanted to there’s two reasons i wanted to talk about this one um this is uh i know it’s berto because i got it out of the box it said on it and i’m just going to leave that there as it just gently dribbles right okay i don’t know if it’s going to fall down but you can see it okay this as as we’re both aware can be some of the gooiest stickiest and smelliest cheese uh uh that you can get on a table um and the reason i wanted to is that the responsibility of the cheese maker is to get it to the show in perfect condition because your cheddars your red leicester’s you’ve probably got a month when it’s tasting perfect this i’d have only six hours when it’s tasting perfect and competitions you know you know in virtual cheese awards we’re talking about today they’ve got to get it to 10 different judges or whatever it is all around the country that’s hard but when you’re talking about the world cheese awards when you’ve got to get all these cheeses to some part of norway or some such place getting it through the chill chain to arrive two days in advance and be perfect that’s hard that’s very very good i get it wrong i don’t know really so this one has still a hint of firmness towards the center so i’m going to eat this off my knife sorry tany too beautiful it looks lovely it’s good it’s good it’s very good it’s very good um you know this one tends to saltiness as it gets older so um i think that we’re just getting to that possibly just a little bit too salty but really nice meaty notes these washed ranches have been said so so this one’s done well right okay very good good so thank you for eating three more cheeses today when you’ve already done 45. well that really goes above and beyond you know you’re a 50 cheese man you’re a 50 cheese man go and have a fondue and a cheese sandwich to finish off your day um and thank you so much and maybe you come back honest on one day and tell us about some scottish cheeses that would be great sure sure thank you for having me charlie appreciate it it’s a pleasure see you soon teddy thank you take care bye right that was tani thank you very much tani i hope you’ll stay on my green room so i can chat to him afterwards in the second um uh what do i need to tell you okay right i just need to say we’ve got one more week of tuesday night’s cheese night before we break for the summer we’re gonna stop over august i’m coming back on the 1st of september we’re going to take a take four or five weeks off very french you might say so uh you know you can guys go on holiday and i’ll come back invigorated waiting for the winter season and hopefully the word covert will be completely forgotten next week to round out the season we’re actually going to be talking to the people who organized the virtual cheese awards and we’re going to be meeting we hope depending on who wins because that isn’t happening until saturday and we talk about that in a second we’re going to be meeting until hopefully one of the winners or possibly the best in show the best the best cheese in 2020 because it’s looking like this might be the only cheese awards happening this year so please follow the virtual cheese awards log in go to what is it nice easy name um and tune in on saturday as they go through the final judging classes and you can dip in and dim it out and see the judging happening um nigel pardon my good mate we’ll be doing a little bit of jazzing it up and showing you what’s going on order that box of cheese if you’d like to otherwise just enjoy the world of cheese and get yourself a good beer and settle down to match the day cheese style so thank you very much for joining me see you next week and that’s great all the best bye bye from me