'Terroir' matters in cheese, researcher finds

Cow and cheese wheels on pastural background

Mateusz Perkowski | Capital Press, September 29, 2014
Professor and Dairy Specialist Lisbeth Goddik standing next to wheels of Beaver Classic cheese in OSU creamery

Similar to wine, the flavor of cheese is influenced by “terroir,” the unique attributes associated with location, according to a food scientist.

While some may consider “terroir” an ambiguous French concept, Lisbeth Goddik has scientifically confirmed that cows in different areas produce milk containing different lactic acid bacteria.

These bacteria, in turn, affect the taste of cheese, she said. “It appears the further the distance, the more different the flavor.”

Her findings have implications for small, artisan cheese producers as well as major manufacturers.

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