What does "Sharp" mean?

Science Byte



Describing the flavors you perceive is only as useful as the words we all associate with them. "Sharp" is one of those words that everyone attributes different meanings to.

For some, sharp just refers to the overall flavor profile for cheddar cheese. For others, sharp means overall flavor for any cheese. If you keep asking around, someone might tell you they think a very sharp cheddar refers to the specific presence of pronounced sulfur notes or acid taste. Heck, maybe someone thinks it’s a texture attribute and a sharp cheddar is a very brittle/crumbly cheese. Who knows?


A knife is sharp. Cheese is not.

Having such an ill-defined term makes cheese flavor discussions treacherous endeavors. The solution? Stop using it as a sensory term! “Sharp” still has a place for informal discussions and is an easy way to refer to an older cheddar that may have more overall flavor. But when you want to get specific and have a real conversation about the flavors you experience, let’s up our game a little. There are plenty of flavor attributes to choose from.


While the light-hearted tone of this post is inspired by April Fool’s day, the sentiment still holds true.