Cheese lovers are no strangers to education. As dairy connoisseurs, we spend a lot of time learning all about the object of our affections. We know about the flavor profiles and textural nuances of different milks, and many of us even understand a little about the cheese-making process. But have you taken your cheese knowledge to the next level? Ever been to cheese school?
Thanks to America's love of cheese, we're seeing more cheese classes offered at restaurants and cheese shops, taking students from mere cheese lovers to dairy scholars.
The Cheese School of San Francisco is nestled in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf. Students can learn cheese basics—identification, regional specialties, event plate crafting, and wine pairing—and have the opportunity to advance to the next level with a cheese-intensive three days.
If you're in New York, head to Manhattan's Artisanal Cheese Center, which is also a cheese shop. At Artisanal, students have can to learn about everything from everyday basics to cheese pairings with beers and whiskeys. They'll even teach you how to make your own cheese at home.
Pastoral Artisan Cheese, a well known cheese shop in Chicago, also teaches classes to anyone wanting to expand their cheese knowledge. Concentrating more on cheese types and flavor pairings, Pastoral is a great place to learn the basics.
If you don't live near a cheese school, never fear. Many local cheese shops and artisan cheese counters around the country conduct classes for customers because, in the end, the more you know, the more you'll buy. It's in the cheesemonger's best interest. If they don't offer any classes, make a friendly suggestion. If you can gather a few friends who'd be willing to attend the class, that might be enough for the shop owner to consider scheduling an event.
About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.