January 9-18, 2017
May 15-24, 2017
Faculty: Ivan Larcher
The School of the New American Farmstead at Sterling College offers “Fundamentals of Artisan Cheese,” an intensive nine-day program for aspiring and practicing cheesemakers. This unique course is offered in partnership with 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 students with the practical and scientific knowledge needed to create exquisite small-scale artisanal cheese. 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. This course is suitable for confident beginners and capable practitioners alike. The small class size makes it possible for the instructors to tailor content to individual learning goals and have one-on-one conversations. We do, however, recommend that students have some cheesemaking experience, even if only at the home scale, before beginning the class.
Tuition & Fees: $3000 covers tuition, a printed text, electronic access to course materials, and ground transportation between all course locations. Also provided are three meals per day prepared by the Sterling Kitchen, the #1 campus kitchen in the country for sustainable food. 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 available for an additional fee of $60 per night with a private bathroom and $50 per night with shared bathroom access. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic, dormitory-style housing that is clean and safe but not luxurious. Please visit our accommodations page for more options.
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Faculty Bio: 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.
Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves. Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice. Some aspects of course content may be weather-dependent.