“You swirl the glass, take it in your mouth, swish it and suck in” - that’s the correct way to taste milk, according to the world’s first milk ‘sommelier’.
Like a wine sommelier, Bas de Groot is an expert in different milk flavours and brands, and says the best way to taste it is to drink it like you would wine.
De Groot, originally from The Netherlands, first discovered the wonders of milk when he was a child.
“My job started in two ways. The first start was when I was 8 years old and drank raw milk for the first time. I was surprised by the flavour and how it changed all the time,” he told Independent.ie.
“The real start was when a friend of mine said ‘Bas, you’re a milk sommelier’, so then I just was.”
The primary part of his job is to discuss and explain the different flavours within milk, using a similar technique to wine tasting.
“The diversity is already in the glass, it’s not something you have to add to it,” he said, speaking at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Carlow.
“I use the same techniques as wine tasting. You observe it, the colour. You take the glass, see how much light is getting through, you see the colour, the smell.”
Different factors affect the flavour of milk de Groot says, from the type of cow to the grass they feed on.
“There are some characteristics you can really experience. Some things are more difficult and amazing that I’m really intrigued by, like the flavour of the milk is changing all the time.
“When I take a sip now, and we do it 20 minutes later, it’s already changed. If a cow is stressed it changes it.”
And while the world has seen an increase in non-dairy milks, such as almond and soy, they’re not something that de Groot can see himself adding to the palate anytime soon.
“In my opinion, non-dairy milk is not milk. Milk is always from breasts, so the rest is not milk. It's a good alternative but it’s not milk.”
De Groot was speaking at the National Dairy Council display at the annual farming event in Fenagh, Co Carlow.
As Marty Morrissey took to the National Dairy Council stage at the National Ploughing Championships stage for 'Grá Island', a tumultuous roar could be heard across the grounds in Fenagh, Co Carlow.