Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese
January 6 — 12, 2019
Faculty: Ivan Larcher
The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College offers “Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese,” an intensive seven-day program for aspiring and practicing cheesemakers. This unique course is offered in partnership with the Cellars at Jasper Hill, an American Cheese Society-certified cheese professional educator and producer of award-winning, perfectly ripened, single-source cheeses from the verdant working landscape of Vermont. Led by world-renowned master cheesemaker and educator Ivan Larcher, “Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese” provides experienced students with the practical and scientific knowledge needed to perfect exquisite small-scale artisanal cheeses.
This course offers a whole-system perspective on cheesemaking, which begins on the farm and requires careful attention to animal husbandry and welfare, forage and feed, dairy production, and milk quality. After covering the production of extraordinary milk, the course dives deep into both the science and art of cheesemaking by exploring raw and pasteurized milk theory, cheese microbiology, coagulants, curdling mechanisms, and starters. In classroom lecture sessions as well as hands-on and observational cheese making, particular attention is paid to the artisanal production of lactic, hard, soft, Saint Nectaire, and traditional brie cheeses. After learning to make this array of cheeses, focus shifts to affinage, with attention to ripening cultures, climate control, rind treatment, and handling throughout the aging process. Because great cheesemaking can not be reduced to rote, recipe-driven work, sensory and tasting skills are developed. A session on defects and troubleshooting provides invaluable tools for managing production and working through the challenges of the inherently variable ecological processes of cheesemaking and aging. In sessions offered on the Sterling College campus in Craftsbury Common, at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, and at the Vermont Food Venture Center in Hardwick, Vermont, students also learn about the business of cheesemaking, sales and distribution, and content-based marketing. Attention to critical food safety concerns, an on-site food sanitation workshop, and an overview of plant design round out the curriculum.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced. This course is suitable for confident home cheesemakers and those who have experience in commercial cheesemaking. This course is often considered a professional development opportunity to those who work in the cheese industry.
Certification: This course can count towards our Certificate in Sustainable Foodcraft
Prerequisites: In order to gain the full value of the class, students should have some cheese making experience and should come with a general understanding of the biology and chemistry associated with milk, proteins, carbohydrates, enzymes and microbes along with basic algebra. Ivan commonly uses metric units and degrees celsius; please be comfortable with these units of measure before class begins.
Tuition & Fees: $3000 covers tuition, a printed text, electronic access to course materials, and ground transportation between all course locations. All meals are available from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Not included are airport transfers or accommodations; please let us know if we can assist you with finding or providing these.
Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is not available for this course. We recommend the Highland Lodge in Greensboro, VT which offers breakfast and a daily shuttle to and from campus. For other recommendations please see our accommodations page.
Want some more info before you register? Let us know!
Ivan Larcher is a world-renowned master cheese maker, cheese expert, and educator. Ivan lectures and provides technical advice to cheesemakers in North America, Israel, Slovenia, Croatia, Spain, Morocco, Algiers and in the United Kingdom. He also works closely with individual dairies and groups of artisan cheesemakers. Ivan is a former tutor at the Centre Fromager in Carmejane, France, as well as a former lecturer at Duchy College and the School for Artisan Food in the UK. He and his wife Julie have a 20-cow dairy in France, Ferme de L’or Blanc (Farm of the White Gold). Here, they make butter, yogurt, cheese, and rice pudding. They have chosen to stay small-scale for their dairy. Ivan has been teaching at Sterling College since January of 2014, when Sterling and the Cellars at Jasper Hill launched the Artisan Cheese Institute, a series of short courses designed to provide students the practical and scientific knowledge involved in creating small-scale artisan cheese.