The hedonic response of preschoolers to six Protected Denomination of Origin Italian cheeses has been investigated. Cheese samples wereMozzarella di bufala, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fontina, Taleggio, Gorgonzola and Pecorino Romano. Sensory tests revealed thatMozzarella di bufala and Parmigiano Reggiano were the most liked cheeses. Gorgonzola was the least appreciated cheese. Patterns of preference for cheese were not linear, depending on the joint effect of gender and cheese variety eaten. Hierarchical ClusterAnalysis of the preference data identified five groups of children with different cheese likes and dislikes. Partial Least Square Regression modeling of cheese acceptability of sensory-driven children subgroups with homogeneous cheese preference revealed different focusing on sensory characteristics of cheese among clusters.Nearly one child out of two focused either on cheese flavors and textures whereas nearly one child out of eight exclusively on flavors. These results were substantiated by children open discussion in focus groups.
- Hedonic response