Mapping the taste of cheese

A MAP is an essential tool for any journey, says Devon cheese-maker Mary Quicke, introducing the Devon-based clothbound Cheddar producer’s Flavour Mapping Project, a new framework to enhance the world’s appreciation of cheese.

The project is a response to the growing interest in artisan and farmhouse cheese. It charts the journey, from initial taste to mid-taste to after-taste, providing a simple tool for cheese lovers to immerse themselves even more deeply into the eating experience.

By going beyond the reductive 1-5 strength rating commonly used for cheddar, Quicke’s hopes to shine a spotlight on the big differences between artisan cheddar and mass-produced block cheddar.. The story of the pastures and the seasons at Home Farm is perfectly encapsulated within the Quicke’s Cheddar Tasting Box, with all wedges now coming with their own flavour map.

The maps illustrate the breadth and complexity that can be achieved from working in harmony with the land, showing the powerful influence of the ageing process and the unique microflora within Quicke’s cheese stores. The three-month matured Buttery Clothbound Cheddar begins with an initial taste of fresh milk, with buttery notes carrying through from mid taste to after taste, joined by peeled almond at the finish. At the other end of the scale, the 24-month matured Vintage Clothbound Cheddar has a caramel sweetness running through, accompanied by umami halfway through the initial taste, with buttery, sharp and salty notes along the way.

Mary Quicke says: “The Flavour Mapping Project has been a labour of love, originating from countless conversations on the farm, as we’ve graded our cheese. Just as the cheese tastes different as you make your way from the rind to the centre of a clothbound truckle, there’s a multi-layered story to tell on the palate too.

“Cheddar is a fantastic place to start with this project, as I think many will be surprised at the diversity that is being produced from our little corner of Devon, but we really hope other cheesemakers will use the framework too. There’s a whole world of taste, texture and terroir to explore and a map is an essential tool for any journey!”

To watch Mary Quicke’s video introducing the Flavour Mapping Project, visit