Thursday, April 8, 2010

Food Entrepreneurs: Cheesemaking

I've often thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool to know how to make cheese? (Seriously, I think these things!) This week I've been going ga-ga for a manchego I picked up at Whole Foods - simultaneously creamy and salty, it makes me swoon.  How cool would it be to make something like that?

Tasia Malakasis did more than just fantasize about cheesemaking, she left her job and NY behind (and apparently her husband, which is neither here nor there) to head to Alabama to take over Belle Chevre. You can read all about her story and a couple others in the AJC.

The article mentions that she took a cheesemaking class at CIA in Hyde Park. I don't see a class like that on  their site, but I did find this 3-day cheesemaking workshop in Vermont. How fun does that sound? I've got some vacation time to kill this year since Mr. AT is less vacation-day blessed than I for thought!

Three Shepherds Farm 2010
Three-Day Cheesemaking Workshops

As seen in the Boston Globe Magazine and on "The Today Show" as well as in Gourmet, Travel and Leisure, Cooking Light, Elle, Ski Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, and on "Food Finds" (on the Food Network), Three Shepherds cheesemaking courses are designed for those who have a serious interest in the world of cheese, those pursuing cheesemaking either as a career or as a serious hobby, and those who simply adore cheese and want to learn more. The courses are unique in that they emphasize a hands-on approach with individual instruction.

By the end of the course, our students have learned the secrets of this ancient craft and are able to make delicious cheeses. And you will learn in the beautiful Mad River Valley, a mecca of local eating in central Vermont. The only requirement of the student is an interest in cheese. We have taught the class for thirteen years and have had students from all over the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, and even India, Pakistan, and Kuwait. A remarkable number of our students have gone on to make cheese regularly, some professionally, and some as a serious hobby. Former students have won prestigious awards at the American Cheese Society, including a "Best of Show," and awards from the World Championship Cheese Contest.

Over the three-days, we make 7 different cheeses using a variety of milks. We discuss and experience all aspects of cheesemaking including raw milk, fresh, soft, and hard cheeses, salting and brining of cheese, aging of cheeses, marketing and selling of cheese, cheese appreciation, pairing cheese and wine, and much more.

The course has wide appeal to many people for many different reasons. For example, in one class there was an editor for a major San Francisco book publisher looking to get away to the country, a couple from Pittsburgh who wanted to "do something different" for their vacation, two chefs, one from a trendy Ft. Lauderdale restaurant and the other from a classic bistro in South Carolina, a buffalo rancher from Texas considering a business making buffalo-milk cheese, and an international flight attendant who read about the cheese class in an eco-tourism article in Elle magazine.

Regardless of your reasons for taking the class, you will learn the science behind what makes good cheese and how four simple ingredients (starter, milk, salt, and rennet) are combined, processed, and aged to make hundreds of distinctively different styles of cheese. 

 When you’re ready to register, please call or e-mail. The class fee is $550.00 for Vermont classes.  A $150.00 non-refundable deposit (per person registering) will confirm your place.  If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

For information on accommodations in our area please visit for a list and description of local inns and B&Bs (make sure you mention that you are taking the cheese class, many places offer specials).



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