Comparative Tasting: A Guide to Soft Cheeses 

In the delightful and diverse world of dairy, cheese stands out as a universal favorite, offering an array of flavors, textures, and culinary possibilities that cater to every palate. Among the plethora of cheese types, soft cheeses hold a special place, known for their creamy textures and subtle flavors that range from mildly sweet to richly pungent. But within this category, there exists a common question that often puzzles cheese enthusiasts and casual consumers alike: “Is soft cheese the same as cream cheese?” This article aims to shed light on this inquiry by delving into the nuanced differences and unique characteristics that distinguish soft cheeses from cream cheese, providing a comprehensive guide to understanding and appreciating these dairy delights. 

Introduction to Soft Cheeses

Soft cheeses are distinguished by their lush textures and diverse taste profiles, which are the result of varying aging periods and moisture content. Unlike hard cheeses, soft cheeses usually undergo a shorter aging process, which contributes to their delicate texture and fresh flavors. These cheeses are enveloped in a wide array of rinds, from bloomy to washed, each adding a unique dimension to the cheese’s overall character.

Preparing for a Comparative Tasting

Selection of Cheeses

When selecting soft cheeses for a comparative tasting, aim for a variety that showcases a range of textures, from creamy and spreadable to slightly firm and crumbly. Include cheeses from different regions and milk types to highlight the impact of terroir and animal diet on flavor. For instance, a lineup might include a French Brie, Italian Ricotta, American goat cheese, and a Spanish Queso Fresco.


Pairing soft cheeses with the right accompaniments can elevate the tasting experience. Choose neutral carriers like plain crackers or baguettes to allow the cheese flavors to shine. Sweet accompaniments like honey or fig jam can balance the tanginess of goat cheese, while savory options like olives or nuts complement the creaminess of Brie or Camembert.

Temperature and Presentation

Serving cheese at the right temperature is crucial; it should be warm enough to release the aromas and flavors but not so warm that it loses structure. Arrange the cheeses on a wooden board or marble slab, providing enough space for each cheese and its pairings. Label each cheese to facilitate discussion and comparison.

Comparative Tasting Guide

Brie: The Quintessential Soft Cheese

Brie, often referred to as the Queen of Cheeses, is celebrated for its creamy texture and buttery flavor, with a white, edible rind that adds a slight earthiness. For a comparative tasting, consider including both a traditional French Brie and a modern, local variant to explore how different production methods and regions influence flavor.

Camembert: Rustic Elegance

While similar to Brie in texture, Camembert offers a more intense flavor profile, with deep earthy notes and a stronger aroma. It’s an excellent example of how similar cheese types can vary significantly. Tasting Camembert alongside Brie highlights the diversity within soft cheeses and showcases the influence of specific strains of mold and bacteria used in cheesemaking.

Chevre: Versatility in Goat Cheese

Goat cheese, or Chevre, varies widely in texture and flavor, from fresh and tangy to aged and complex. Including a fresh, spreadable goat cheese and an aged, firmer variety in the tasting can demonstrate how aging affects goat cheese. Discuss the characteristic tangy flavor of goat cheese and how it pairs with both sweet and savory accompaniments.

Ricotta: A Fresh Delight

Ricotta, traditionally made from sheep’s milk but commonly found made from cow’s milk, offers a sweet and lightly creamy texture that’s versatile in both sweet and savory dishes. Its mild flavor and grainy texture make it a unique addition to a cheese tasting, providing a contrast to the more intense flavors of aged cheeses.

Conducting the Tasting

Guide participants through each cheese, encouraging them to note the appearance, aroma, texture, and taste. Discuss the origins of each cheese, the milk type used, and any specific production methods that contribute to its unique characteristics. Encourage participants to experiment with pairings, noting how different flavors and textures interact.

Tips for a Successful Tasting

  • Pacing: Allow ample time for each cheese to be savored and discussed. Rushing through a tasting can overwhelm the palate and diminish the experience.
  • Mindful Eating: Encourage participants to focus on the sensory experience of each cheese, noting the subtle flavors and textures.
  • Discussion: Foster an environment where participants feel comfortable sharing their impressions and preferences. This can enhance the collective experience and lead to interesting discoveries.


A comparative tasting of soft cheeses is not just a culinary activity but a journey through cultures, traditions, and artisanal craftsmanship. By carefully selecting a diverse range of cheeses, preparing thoughtfully chosen accompaniments, and guiding participants through a mindful tasting process, you can create an enriching experience that celebrates the complexity and beauty of soft cheeses. This exploration can deepen appreciation for the art of cheesemaking and the nuanced flavors that cheese can bring to the table.

Visit Minerva Techno For The Latest News 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *