How to Host a Vertical Cheese Tasting At Home

How to Host a Vertical Cheese Tasting At Home

A vertical cheese tasting is a sampling of the same kind of cheese at different ages. It’s a delicious way to experience the subtle ways the seasons can affect a cheese’s flavor. It will also help you become acquainted with the many particular flavors that a specific cheese has to offer and help you learn how to talk about them, too.

To set up a vertical tasting, you just need to choose one specific cheese and buy a wedge at a few different ages. Ideally, it should be the same cheese from the same creamery, so you can see how dramatic or subtle the differences are, but since this is not always possible a good alternative is the same cheese. For example, get yourself a Comté at 6 months, 12 months, and 16 months. Some of these wedges will be made with summer milk when the cows are at pasture and eating a fresh diet of herbs, grass, and flowers, while the other will be made with winter milk when the cows are eating dry hay.


Here’s how to set up a vertical tasting for all your friends:

  1. Choose your cheese, and buy several different ages. Give everyone just under an ounce of each cheese, so they have plenty to taste.
  2. Gather your friends for a round-table style discussion. We recommend keeping it to fewer than ten people.
  3. Print out some facts about the cheese so you can learn all about it together. You’ll also want to provide each guest with paper and a pencil so they can take notes.
  4. Serve something bubbly,  like sparkling wine or seltzer, to cleanse your palate between bites.
  5. Begin with the youngest cheese, and move towards the oldest.
  6. Once the tasting is over, be sure to wrap any leftovers in Formaticum to keep them fresh.

If you host a vertical cheese tasting at home, post a picture on Instagram and tag us! We’d love to see how it goes.



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How to Host a Vertical Cheese Tasting At Home


Upcoming Events

A list of all the upcoming cheese events and festivals you need to know about. 

June

Kaiserwinkl Cheese Festival
Saturday, June 1st
Kössen, Austria
Delicious cheeses, music, and food vendors in the center of the village of Kössen. Entry is free!

Mondial du Fromage
Sunday June 2nd through Tuesday, June 4th
Tours, France
A cheese industry event with a cheesemonger competition and networking opportunities. 

National Cheese Day
Tuesday, June 4th
Our favorite holiday, for obvious reasons. Go show your local cheese shop some love! Don’t forget to stock up on cheese papers to take care of the leftovers.

Canadian Cheese Awards Night Market
Thursday, June 6th
Toronto, Canada
The first-ever Cheese Night Market is a unique sampling show where you can try and buy the best artisan and farmstead cheeses and products in Canada. You can also sample local wine, craft beer, cider, and spirits while listening to live music.

Salt Lake Cheese Festival
Saturday, June 8th
Salt Lake City, UT
Enjoy cheese samples from around the world paired with locally made cider from sponsor Mtn. West Hard Cider (which owns the venue) and the award-winning beer from RedRock brewing. Local cheesemakers and representatives will be in attendance to talk about the products being sampled.

Clayton Cheese Days
Friday, June 14th - Sunday, 16th
Three days of cheesy fun featuring a parade, Queen pageant, tractor pull, demolition derby and street dance, community wide garage sales, and much more.

The 8th Annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival
Saturday, June 15th
Westport, Massachusetts
Join us on Saturday, June 15th to taste an array of wines from the thirteen member wineries of the Coastal Wine Trail sampled alongside local cheese, chocolate, honey and artisan bread made locally in Southeastern New England.

Cheese Curd Festival
Friday, June 21st through Sunday, June 23rd
Ellsworth, Wisconsin
The town’s designation as the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin. Expect craft brews, a curd-eating contest, and an estimated 2,300 pounds of curds.

Door County Cheese Festival
Saturday, June 22nd
Door County, WI
Held on the same day and at the same location as the Uncork Summer Food Wine Cider Music Festival, the 1st Annual Door County Cheese Festival will feature a wide range of northeast Wisconsin cheesemakers and restaurants featuring small plate dishes based on unique cheeses!

Adirondack Wine & Food Festival
Saturday, June 29th
Lake George, NY
The 5th annual Adirondack Wine & Food Festival in Lake George showcases over 120 of New York's best wineries, breweries, distilleries, artisan food vendors, crafts, and food trucks the region has to offer, with the beauty of Lake George as the backdrop.

July

Little Falls Cheese Festival
Saturday, July 13th
Little Falls, NY
New York State’s premier gathering of cheesemakers. Featuring over 120 New York cheeses as well as gourmet foods, craft beverages, live entertainment and more.

54th Annual Colby Cheese Days
Friday, July 19th – Sunday June 21st
Colby, WI
Held in the birthplace of Colby Cheese, this annual festival includes a parade, tractor pull, and food vendors.

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival
Saturday, July 27th
Odessa, NY
Showcasing the cheeses from the members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance as well as the best in homemade, homegrown products in NY and PA. Featured FLX wineries, breweries and cideries will offer tastings, and be featured in exclusive pairing and cooking seminars

American Cheese Society Festival of Cheese
Saturday, August 3rd
Richmond, VA
Sample winning cheeses from among the 2,000+ artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses entered into ACS’s prestigious Annual Judging & Competition.

August

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
Sunday, August 11th
Shelburne, VT
Taste the state's fine cheeses, local, foods, and beverages, and meet the artisans who make them. Spend a high summer day along the shores of Lake Champlain at the historic Shelburne Farms Coach Barn sampling, buying, learning, and networking. 

The Science of Artisan Cheese
Wednesday, August 14 - Thursday, August 15th
Somerset, UK
This two-day gathering of cheesemakers, scientists, and industry folks dives into the technical side of artisan cheese.

Arthur Cheese Festival
Saturday, August 31st - Monday, September 2nd
Arthur, Illinois
3 full days of street festival including crafts, food, flea market, sidewalk sales, parade, kids rides and games, and lots of cheese. An auto show, live entertainment, 10k, Amish strongman competition, antique tractor show… something for every one. Free cheese each day.

Cheese-A-Palooza
Saturday, August 31st - Sunday, September 1st
Kenosha, WI
Happenings Magazine and the City of Kenosha are once again teaming up to create an event celebrating Wisconsin's tastiest product - cheese! Featuring multiple stages of live entertainment, food eating contests, food vendors, family friendly activities, and more.

September

SF Cheese Fest
Saturday, September 14th - Sunday, 15th
Sand Francisco, California
California’s premier urban cheese cheese festival features more than 20 of the state’s artisan cheesemakers showcasing their cheeses. Sip on local beverages, enjoy the live music, and meet some of the best cheesemakers in the area.

Lakeridge Winery’s Wine & Cheese Festival
Saturday, September 14th - Sunday, 15th
Clermont, Florida
Come for a complimentary wine tasting with samples of cheese to pair while enjoying live music, Lakeridge wine by the glass, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food available for purchase.

Slow Food Cheese Festival
Wednesday, September 18th - Wednesday, September 25th
Bra, Italy
Eat, drink and learn about cheese, wine, charcuterie, bread and pasta at the world’s biggest international foodie event. Held in the Piemonte countryside, farmers, cheese makers, cheesemongers and affineurs take over the streets of Bra to celebrate the best cheeses in the world.


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