Book Review: Tasting Club
July 16, 2010
While researching about supertasters, I called up the catalog online for my local library to see what books they had on taste. I came across a very interesting one called Tasting Club: Gathering Together to Share and Savor Your Favorite Tastes by Dina Cheney.
This book starts out covering the basics, including a brief blurb on how the tongue tastes food. This chapter is really devoted to actually having tastings, forming a tasting club, and an extensive section on how to conduct a tasting. It includes how to send an invite, and what to provide your guests to assist with the tasting, such as pens and a tasting grid found later in the book.
From there, the book has a chapter on wine, chocolate, cheese, honey, tea, extra virgin olive oil, cured meats, balsamic vinegar, apples, and beer. For example, with wine, Cheney talks about terroir, how wine is made, different types of wine, location, grape varieties including a table talking about characteristics, finding wine, shopping and storing wine, choosing food accompaniments including a menu and a few recipes, organizing the tasting, learning your palate, a tasting grid for wine, and a wine glossary of terms. This organization and detail is repeated for the other foods, with minor tweaks to better match the subject.
I was fairly impressed with this book and I may try a tasting from it, such as in the balsamic vinegar chapter. However, for something like apples where there are a lot of different varieties out there, this book oversimplified things and only stuck to the grocery store apple varieties.