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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Upcoming Events

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


Spring Wine & Cheese 
Friday, April 12th through Sunday, April 14th
Finger Lakes, New York 
Spring Wine & Cheese Weekend is the perfect way to kick off the spring season. Participants will enjoy a self-guided tour around beautiful Seneca Lake, while sampling local wine and food pairings at 29 participating Seneca Lake Wine Trail wineries. Each winery will server 3 samples of wine and a food sample which includes cheese in it.

Foire aux Fromages et aux Vins Coulommiers
Friday, April 12th through Tuesday, April 16th
Coulommiers, France
This international cheese and wine festival takes place in the Brie region just outside of France. The fair showcases regional and national cheese and wine specialties with approximately 350 exhibitors. More than 65,000 gastronomes come to enjoy the four days of festivals, tastings of local products and entertainment of all kinds.

Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day
Saturday, April 20th
Celebrate the beauty and tradition of delicious raw milk cheeses on this annual holiday organized by the nonprofit Oldways Cheese Coalition. Click here for a list of events and specials in your area.

Seattle Cheese and Meat Festival
Saturday, April 20th
Cured meat. Fromage. You get a charcuterie board and glass upon entry, and more than 50 vendors offer tastes and sips (wine, cider, beer, spirits, and kombucha included). 

Carolina Mountain Cheese Fest
Sunday, April 28th
Asheville, N.C.
The An annual event for the WNC Cheese Trail, this cheese festival supports the WNC Cheese Trail and gives attendees a chance to meet the cheesemakers, learn about cheese, sample, shop, and play with baby animals, too.

Pine Island Cheese Festival
Friday May 31st, through Sunday June 2nd
Pine Island, MN
Pine Island Cheese Festival! Our celebration includes a craft show, street dances, coronation, parade, fireworks, kiddie activities, teen activities, baseball tournaments, 5K run, carnival, food vendors and more! Check this page often for event information, photos, and other information!


Fete du Fromage
Saturday, May 5th
Gruyères, Switzerland
A free event in the medieval town of Gruyères. With a cheese market, several artisans, musical entertainment and celebrations for the traditional production  of Gruyère.

The Big Cheese
Friday May 24th through Sunday, May 26th
Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
A Memorial Day weekend cheese immersion experience for foodies, featuring hands-on cooking and cheesemaking classes, a special tasting of championship cheeses through the taste buds of the grader, cheese pairings with wine, microbrews, cocktails, bourbon and tea, and more. 

Brockworth Cheese Roll
Monday, May 27th
Brockworth, Gloucestershire
The famous very old local tradition of cheese rolling dating back before the 1800s

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival 
Friday, May 31st  through Sunday, June 2nd
Little Chute, Wisconsin
Located in the Doyle Park Festival Grounds, this three-day celebration features amusement rides, children's entertainment, animal petting zoo, walk/run, parade, cheese tasting, and more!


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 

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!

The 8th Annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Festival
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!


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