SIMPLIFIED LEXICON TO DESCRIBE FLAVOR CHARACTERISTICS OF WESTERN EUROPEAN CHEESES

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TEL: 785-532-0162; FAX: 785-532-0176; EMAIL: delores@humec.ksu.edu

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Many researchers have developed useful lexicons to describe flavor characteristics of different cheeses. The objectives of this study were to determine if the terminology established in previous studies was adequate to evaluate a wide range of European cheeses, and to determine if a simplified “general” lexicon can be developed for the description of cheese. A descriptive panel evaluated the flavor of 65 western European cheeses that varied in region produced, milk source, maturation time and processing method. The panel reviewed previously published cheese attributes, definitions and references prior to beginning the testing. During testing, the panel detected and added new descriptors and eliminated terms which did not appear in any of the cheeses. Data inspection, in addition to factor analysis, suggests that 25 attributes are needed to explain the common flavor characteristics found in cheese. However, 19 additional attributes may be used occasionally to describe targeted specific flavor characteristics.

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

The flavor of cheese, an increasingly popular food, is critical to producers and consumers. A large number of sensory descriptors can be used to describe flavor characteristics of cheese. The research indicates a lexicon with a reduced number of terms that can be used to describe most general flavor characteristics. Other characteristics are needed occasionally to describe specific characteristics of some cheeses.

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