Faculty: Eric Meredith
The art and science of affinage is a complex alchemy that can take a few hours or last several years. When making aged cheeses, the French consider that milk undergoes two transformations: first, liquid milk is transformed into fresh curd and second, the curd is transformed into aged cheese. This course covers the second transformation in all aspects while adding tips for clear lines of communication with the cheesemaker (first transformation) and developing profitable relationships with your customers.
Two comprehensive tastings have been designed to hone your palate and expand your knowledge of sensory evaluation in respect to age profiles as well as defects. Classroom sessions will dive deep into the biochemistry and microbiology behind affinage. Later in the week the class will apply the classroom theory by working directly with cheeses at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. This day long experiential part of the course will include a soft and hard cheese practical skills workshop. The exercises planned will give you hands on practice to applying in your own endeavors.
Students will be introduced to various methods of maintaining and monitoring the ripening environment. Design ideas for affinage spaces, cheesemaking facilities and distribution areas will be shared and scrutinized to maximize flow, reduce food safety challenges, comply with ergonomic principles and keep quality at its highest levels. Students will leave the course confident in their ability to make decisions concerning cheese ripening room design elements, refrigeration styles, room volumes needed, best materials for function and developing a food safety plan for an affinage facility.