I recently took Cheese Making 201 with Jim and cannot say enough about this wonderful experience. The atmosphere was extremely friendly and welcoming. By the end of the weekend I felt more like a welcomed friend than a student. The class was at Jim’s home and personal cheese lab and cave. The hospitality shown to us by Jim and his wife, Robin was beyond compare. The lunches Robin prepared rivaled any establishment serving fresh and wholesome lunches. We were treated to wonderful and unique samples of handmade cheese and beverages.
Jims knowledge of cheese making and the history of cheese is very extensive and he is very effective at passing on his knowledge and skill. Our class was involved in the hands on production of three cheeses requiring different techniques. We were strongly encouraged to take pictures and ask questions. What I learned in this class has already improved my ability to make quality cheese. I was able to identify over a half dozen ways to improve my equipment and technique. I labeled this my “oops” page. I also gained a greater understanding of how milk, culture, rennet and other ingredients affect the development of the final mature cheese. Rind development, a particular challenge for me, and cave set up were also discussed and my home set up has already improved dramatically. Part of the class is the ability to bring a sample of your own cheese for evaluation.
This was a friendly, supportive and non-judgmental experience. It was incredibly empowering and educational! Another benefit of the class is meeting fellow cheese makers from different experiences and sharing information and stories with them. Some emails have already been exchanged and hopefully productive and fun new friends.
It’s only been a week since the class but I’ve already made major changes to my cheese making equipment, set up and process. I made my first cheese since taking the class last weekend – Jim’s Hispanico – everything went well and it looks great. Now the hard part – waiting!