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Monday 21 October 2019

'Milk sommelier' says stressed cow changes taste of the white stuff


Bas de Groot. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Bas de Groot. Picture: Gerry Mooney
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

"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.

Mr 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 eight years old and drank raw milk for the first time. I was surprised by the flavour and how it changed all the time," he said.

"The real start was when a friend of mine said 'Bas, you're a milk sommelier', so then I just was."

The main 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.

"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, 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," he added.

Mr de Groot was speaking at the National Dairy Council display at the National Ploughing Championships in Co Carlow.

And while the world has seen an increase in non-dairy milks, such as almond and soy, they are not something Mr de Groot will be partaking of anytime soon.

"In my opinion, non-dairy milk is not milk," he said.

Irish Independent

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