The Judges at the ACS Conference—Sniff, Taste, Spit, Score
The American Cheese Society Conference is back this year and it's larger than ever. With judges critiquing 1,711 cheese entries, we were happy to gain some insight into their process:
First, they do not want cheesemakers to take the critiques personally—the experts are only trying to help them hone their craft. Second, the real indication of a good cheese is whether or not the scorers swallow their bite:
“If it’s good, you swallow,” said judge, N.C. State University professor MaryAnne Drake. “If it’s not good and not worth the calories, it goes in the spit bucket.”
Plus, check out the awesome goofball picture of our own Lassa Skinner, who's the manager, (not owner as reported) of Oxbow Cheese Merchant.
For a first-person report on ACS judging, see Mary Quicke's 2011 article here.