What Does Cheese Really Taste Like? [Infographic]

Once you go beyond the types of cheese that can be ordered on a Subway not-quite-footlong sandwich, the world of fancy cheeses can be a baffling one, full of strange names and hints of obscure flavors.

Using a paper from the Journal of Sensory Studies, graphic designer Sean Seidell put together an infographic exploring the wonderful world of cheese.

In the paper from 2010, researchers looked into how using simpler language can help communicate complicated sensory descriptions. They found that using “high identity traits” made it easier to identify similarities and differences between cheese samples.

In graphic form, the study’s findings provide a cheat sheet for those of us who can spend hours browsing at the cheese counter on a quest for that perfect nutty cheese we tried that one time. Wondering what the difference is between a longhorn cheddar and a New York variant? Wondering how feta relates to provolone? To the cheese wheel!

The splotches extending out from each cheese correspond to one or more flavors on the wheel. Gruyere, for example, seems to have a bit of a pineapple flavor going on, while feta has hints of sauerkraut. I wonder what beer flavor that could pair with?

You can see more of Seidell’s work on his blog.