Almost everyone can appreciate cheese! It’s a delicious treat that pairs well with fruit, crackers, and wine. However, not all cheese is created equally. The better the milk, the better the cheese. To get the highest quality milk, you need to ensure you are buying dairy from a well-kept farm with grass-fed animals.
Sonoma County has tens of thousands of grass-fed cows and goats. Sonoma County offers tons of land and great farming conditions, and that’s likely why some of the finest cheese in the world can be found in Sonoma County, California.
Categories of Cheese to Try
Sonoma County is home to a plethora of distinctive, hand-crafted artisan cheeses. The reason this area is so saturated with cheesemakers is because of prohibition. When prohibition started, many of the winemakers in Sonoma County had to pivot to stay in business, and they turned to cheese.
Today – the finest wines and cheeses can be found in and around the county, which is convenient because the two pair beautifully!
Cheese comes in many forms. It can be made with cow’s milk or goat’s milk. However, the variations go further. There are so many types of cheese, it would be hard to list every name!
There are general categories of cheeses, however, such as:
- Fresh Soft Cheese.
- Fresh Firm Cheese.
- Semi-Soft Cheese.
- Soft Cheese.
- Semi-Hard Cheese.
- Hard Cheese.
- Firm Cheese.
- Semi-Firm Cheese.
Within these broad categories, there are several cheese types that belong to each. All the cheese types bring diverse flavors and consistencies to your plate. To figure out which type of cheese you like best, a cheese tasting is a great idea!
How to Enjoy a Cheese Tasting
Cheese tastings allow you to try several different types of cheese in one sitting and are a great activity to do with your friends, family, or significant other!
Participating in a cheese tasting is like a wine tasting. You want to get the full experience of each cheese’s smell, look, feel, and taste.
When participating in a cheese tasting, you should take some steps to fully enjoy it:
- Start by inspecting the cheese visually. Getting to know the look and feel of the cheese will allow your sensory perception to operate at its full potential!
- Next, you can smell the cheese. They all have unique scents. Some will be quite strong, while others will be very faint.
- Next, bite into your cheese. Observe the feeling, texture, and flavors in your mouth. Some cheese will feel dry and crumbly in your mouth, others will be dense and thick.
- To truly enjoy the flavor profile, allow the cheese to sit on your tongue for 10 seconds. Be mindful of subtle notes or flavors you identify. This way you will enjoy every bite!
Where to Enjoy a Cheese Tasting in Sonoma County
If you’re looking to get the authentic Sonoma County cheese experience, the best option is to do a cheese tasting or tour at a farm.
There are numerous cheesemakers in the county who offer cheese tastings and tours. This website shows upcoming cheese tours and tastings in the area. Cheese pairs wonderfully with wine – so be sure to try Sonoma County’s many wineries alongside your cheese tour!
If you are looking for the absolute best cheese tasting experience in the country, look no further than Sonoma County. This area is rich with cheesemakers and wineries who take great care in their craft. You’ll be able to feel the love with every bite! If you are in Napa Valley looking for the most beautiful wineries in Napa, you have to check out ELLMAN. ELLMAN is led by winemaker Andy Erickson as one of the premier family-owned wineries in Napa. If you are interested in seeing what makes Andy Erickson wine so special, check out an ELLMAN Napa tasting room to try the wine yourself. To learn more about ELLMAN, one of the oldest family-owned vineyards in Napa Valley, check out our website here or get in touch with us today.