Making cheese is almost as fun as eating cheese, but in the cheese making classes in Longmont, you get to do both.
Back in April, Ryan and I took a Flavored Cheeses class with The Art of Cheese in Longmont, Colorado. It was part of a weekend visit where we explored a familiar town in an entirely new way; via trolley and via foot. There are more Longmont posts to come.
We arrived at Haystack Mountain Cheeses’ facility on a drizzly, slightly humid morning; perfect for being inside a nice, cool creamery. The Art of Cheese holds their classes inside of Haystack, but they are not related businesses.
Ryan and I love cheese. My favorite spot in the world is the Cheese Importers in Longmont, and by visiting this store many times, we’ve become quite knowledgeable about cheese, however, neither of us have ever tried our hand at making it.
I must tell you that I love to cook, but I detest baking and I’m not much for following recipes as I’m not a patient person. If I had my way every dish would have more jalapenos and more garlic. Ryan, on the other hand, enjoys the science of baking and follows recipes as if they are the Word of God.
I’ve always known that I might not have enough patience for making cheese, so it was apropos that our The Art of Cheese class was all about flavoring fresh, soft cheese. Soft cheeses are the fairly straightforward to make and don’t require quite as much patience as other styles.
We all gathered around a long table in a room next to the hard cheese making room at Haystack, which we could see through large windows. On a Saturday, no cheese making was occurring, but it’s a nice setting for a cheese class.
Our class consisted of new cheesemakers and some people with experience. In fact, Joan from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was taking her final class in a series of The Art of Cheese classes she’d received as a present from her husband. This is what’s so great about The Art of Cheese; their classes are accessible to anyone and everyone. Newbies shouldn’t be deterred from signing up.
Becca Heins was our instructor and I couldn’t be more pleased with her instruction. Her no-nonsense style of teaching resonated well with Ryan and I. A long time cheese maker, Becca was not afraid to tell us about mistakes she’s made along the way – cheese making isn’t hard, but it’s no cake walk either.
These classes are hands on. Our class covered fresh versus aged cheeses, fresh versus dry flavoring agents, techniques for flavoring such as adding the additive to the outside of the cheese (the rind) or inside the cheese, timing, appearance, and texture. And of course, taste.
If this sounds a bit technical, it wasn’t. This is a “learn by doing” class, so we were always busy, experimenting with flavors in our own “test” cheese, tasting different types of finished cheeses, helping Becca with the process of making cheese from scratch and generally having a grand old time.
Ryan and I sat across from Katie and Nick. They came all the way from Ohio to experience Northern Colorado, and when they discovered they could take a cheese making class while in town, they jumped at it.
Without a doubt, the best part of a The Art of Cheese class is eating cheese. At every turn, another plate of cheese was passed around the table. The diversity of styles and flavors were overwhelming and everyone had their favorite.
Both Ryan and I knew we’d enjoyed making cheese with The Art of Cheese, but neither of us predicted how much fun it would be. Whether you’re longing to learn how to make cheese, or just really enjoying eating cheese and learning things, check out The Art of Cheese. And remember, these classes make a great present for the cheese lover in your life.
Thank you to Visit Longmont for hosting us in Longmont and for inviting us to try out a class with The Art of Cheese. And thank you to Becca for your wonderful and entertaining instruction!