Sensory analysis is the set of methods and techniques that allow to measure, through the sense organs, the quality of a food product or beverage.

The first information is the color of the paste of Parmigiano Reggiano: from straw to intense straw, uniform or uneven.
The colour of the cheese can be influenced by several factors:
• cheese made from milk from cows fed with hay is whiter than cheese obtained from cows fed with grass
• light, air, temperature facilitate oxidation processes can cause yellowing or browning of the cheese surface
• the ripening of the cheese makes the color more intense
The visual examination then allows to analyze the outside (crust-shape) and the inside (paste) of the cheese to measure the degree of homogeneity and imperfections.
Important are the assessments of temperature, humidity, roughness, elasticity and greasiness of the dough, also the holes (small holes in the dough, allowed in Parmigiano Reggiano if less than 2 mm in diameter) and tyrosine crystals, that is, the white dots on the surface of the dough represent an index of ripeness of the cheese.

Feeling Parmigiano Reggiano you can check the consistency of the pasta and understand if it is a cheese of 12, 24 or 36 months then a young Parmigiano Reggiano, aged or aged.
By touching the sample with your fingers, biting and deforming it, you evaluate the elasticity and hardness, but also:
• granularity, which increases with seasoning
• friability, that is the attitude of Parmigiano Reggiano in generating flakes during portioning
• solubility, that is the sensation of cheese melting in the mouth
All these structural characteristics increase with the aging of Parmigiano Reggiano.
In fact, in the tactile evaluation in the mouth, it can happen to feel under the teeth the crystals of tyrosine that testify the advanced maturation of the cheese.

It breaks the cheese and is deeply smelled to perceive the volatile compounds and appreciate the overall intensity of the smell of the cheese (intense or weak).
With more experience you can better identify the families of odors (lactic, vegetable, floral, toasted, spicy etc.) and then have the ability to go into detail.
To complete the flavour, the other perceptible descriptors of the cheese are notes of spices (nutmeg and pepper) and meat broth.
In general, it can be said that the overall intensity of smell and aroma of Parmigiano Reggiano increases with seasoning.

In this phase we evaluate the basic flavors (sweet, salty, acid, bitter) and the presence/ absence of trigeminal sensations such as spicy and astringent.
Essentially the flavors that can characterize Parmigiano Reggiano are:
• the sweet, more pronounced in young products
• salted, which increases with seasoning
• the bitter: almost always weak note, often linked to a feeling of herbaceous
Parmigiano Reggiano also pays particular attention to the final sensations of aftertaste and persistence that complete the tasting.

At the end of the tasting, it is very important to pay attention to the final sensations, that is, aftertaste and persistence.
The aftertaste leads us to the discovery of sensations, aromas and flavors after swallowing the cheese.
Persistence is the permanence of olfactory-gustatory perceptions over time, and is measured in seconds.