The re-education of the sisters: Cheese

As part of a gift from our dear mother, we headed off to the wilds of Massachusetts to attend a cheese making seminar given by the Queen of Cheese – Riki Carroll of the New England Cheese Making Company. The three of us embarked on a family road trip and were looking forward to seeing a part of the USA we had never been before and of course learning something new. We were staying in the quite breathtaking Berkshire mountains and as a bonus were greeted by cherry blossoms in bloom.  They were a welcomed sight after arriving from a cold and chilly Toronto.

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The next morning after a butter-sodden lobster dinner and thick creamy Boston chowder, we headed for another dairy explosion – a full day of cheese! There wasn’t an empty chair in the classroom and the people were from all walks of life. It was reassuring that so many different people are interested in this sort of food adventure.

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During the course of the day each table was responsible for making a wheel of farmhouse cheddar. This sort of cheese isn’t difficult to make (at least with supervision) but it is definitely fiddly and has a list of steps that must be followed. But work shared is work halved and our table was quite pleased with the look of our end results despite not getting to try it. As cheddar must age, we had to suffice with sampling the previous class’s efforts. Riki walked us through each step as well as demonstrations of making several different types of cheese and yoghurt.

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The yoghurt was a revelation to be honest – it has been a long time since I have eaten yoghurt that didn’t have a gelatinous texture to it. Instead, we were treated to creamy deliciousness made right in front of us – in an instant. As I shake my fist to the sky like Scarlett O’ Hara…I swear, I will never buy store yoghurt again!

Riki also showed us how to make queso blanco, ricotta, mozzarella and two types of soft cheese.  It was dairy information overload but with the delicious lunch served with the newly made cheeses, it was inspiration enough to put our new skills to work!

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Many thanks to Riki for an excellent day out and for those looking to venture into the grand world of dairy, I recommend paying a visit to the New England Cheese Company.  Trust me, the next day you will start wondering where to find someone with a cow! Or perhaps a goat…

The New England Cheese Company website:

Laura Hamilton
Laura Hamilton


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