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Flavor lexicon and characteristics of artisan goat cheese from the United States

Talavera, Martin, Chambers, Delores H.
Journal of sensory studies 2016 v.31 no.6 pp. 492-506
artisan cheese, flavor, goat cheese, goat milk, learning, quality control, United States
The objective of this study was to further develop an existing lexicon for use in describing the flavor characteristics of a wide variety of artisan goat cheeses made in diverse geographic locations throughout of the United States. Highly trained sensory panelists reviewed published lexicons for cheese before establishing a lexicon of 39 flavor attributes to represent sensory characteristics for 47 artisan goat cheeses manufactured in different parts of the United States. Twenty‐eight attributes were present in a majority of samples and were able to describe most flavor characteristics. Other attributes were used occasionally to describe specific characteristics of certain cheeses. A large number of attributes were needed to describe flavor characteristics of cheese samples with more complex flavors (i.e., mold‐ripened samples). Samples with milder characteristics (chèvre‐style) needed a reduced number of terms and had lower intensities for most attributes. Feta‐style cheeses generally were more salty and cheddar‐style cheeses were mostly nutty, waxy, and sweet. Mold‐ripened cheeses had musty‐like characteristics and were more pungent and sharp. These attributes had higher intensities specifically for blue‐type cheeses. The goaty flavor attribute was higher for mold‐ripened cheeses but was characteristic of all the goat cheeses. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: This study gathers previously developed flavor terms and combines them with new terms to describe the flavor characteristics of a broad variety of artisan cheeses made with goat's milk produced in different parts of the United States. This work can be a valuable resource for goat cheese producers. Any producer can use this study as a tool for learning, benchmarking, development, and quality control of goat cheese as it shows the types of flavors typical in a wide variety of goat cheeses.