Come and try your hand at making your own cheese here at River Cottage HQ!
During this one day course you will learn how to make a variety of delicious soft cheeses, including camembert-style and mozzarella, which you can take home with you at the end of the day.
Soft cheeses will be the focus of the day, with hard cheese covered in theory, providing you with the knowhow to make your own cheeses whenever and wherever you want to - you won't need much equipment or space and you can wow your friends and family with your very own handmade cheeses!
As well as your cheeses, a delicious seasonal lunch is included as part of the day, freshly prepared by our River Cottage Chefs, and at the end of the day you will take home some of the cheeses you've made.
Channel 4 Food writer Lauren Bravo recently joined us for a Cheese course:Read her blog >
Your day at River Cottage
Arrive: Tractor ride down to the farm
Welcome: Meet your host and tutor over a morning tea or coffee and tasty River Cottage treats.
Session one: Make a camembert using whole homogenised milk. Learn about rennet, temperatures and techniques.
Lunch: At River Cottage, food is very much the focus and your sumptuous two course lunch of local seasonal fare will not disappoint.
Session two: Making mozzarella and using the whey. Ricotta cheese demo.
Session three: Learning how to make a lemon cheese.
Session four: One of the River Cottage chefs will demonstrate a rouillard.
This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on the season as well as the group’s interest.
Location: This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.
Wine/drink: We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines.
Accomodation: If you need local accommodation please click here.
Age: We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.
Time:10.00am - 5.00pm
Keep me informed
If you are interested in joining us at River Cottage for a course or event, please let us know. We will send you new dates when they become available, special offers on last minute tickets and let you know about the new courses we are developing. Just hit the button below and let us know what you're interested in.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt that the attention to detail and the efforts of the staff to provide a warm and friendly atmosphere really made the day. The food was excellent and really enhanced the experience. The course content was good with a knowledgable and generous tutor, and the learning fun.
Added on 11/05/2011 by River Cottage Reviews
A really enjoyable day because it was so hands-on. Christine was totally unique and I doubt anyone could have fielded so many questions about cheese as she did. All the staff were excellent, as was the food and atmosphere as usual. A lovely bunch of fellow cheese makers too. Thank you all very much - Pam Lepitt
We couldn’t have picked a better day to go to River Cottage. We probably could have picked better footwear for a working farm (me, glittery plimsolls; my friend open-toed sandals), but luckily the glorious September sunshine let us off. Every bit as picturesque as it looks on the TV and overlooked by the kind of beautiful Devon hills that have one whistling Jerusalem without even noticing, Park Farm is a truly idyllic setting. After a trailer ride down to the cottage, we were greeted with coffee and the first treat of the day, farm-fresh bacon and scrambled eggs on toast.
As food courses go, we picked an adventurous one - homemade cheese isn’t in many people’s repertoires, after all - but that made it all the more exciting, and by the end of the day we felt half artisan, half scientist. My friend had spent two years working as a cheese shop manager and was keen to discover the processes behind her favourite fromage, while I had little experience beyond eating it. But both our knowledge levels were catered for brilliantly within the friendly group of 14.
Our teacher was expert cheesemaker and dairy consultant Christine Ashby, a woman who knows everything there is to know about cheese, and then a bit more. Wearing an apron reading, “Age isn’t important - unless you’re a cheese”, she lead us through the importance of kitchen hygiene and the basics of forming curds from unhomogenised milk, then we’re straight into our first recipe, for a Camembert-style soft cheese.
It’s a complex process, with the milk needing to be a series of precise temperatures before a starter, rennet and penicillium mould are added and it begins to coagulate. But with everything pre-measured for us and Christine on hand to give guidance throughout, even the most slapdash student in the group (er, me) manages to get it right. The best bit is testing the bouncy curd with the back of our fingers (a texture like no other) before slicing it gently into cubes.
Once the Camembert had made it safely into moulds, it was onto a quick and simple lemon cheese, which was made in minutes and left straining while we sat down to lunch. And oh, what a lunch. After sea bass with tabbouleh and salsa verde and a pudding of rose and geranium panna cotta with caraway shortbread, we rolled outside to explore – and even got a glimpse of Hugh in the River Cottage garden, taking a break from filming.
Back in the kitchen, there was a lesson in mozzarella. Did you know that Cheese Strings are actually completely unprocessed, and a great way to introduce kids to the world of cheese? Neither did we. But before long we’re stretching out our mozzarella into our own stringy version and competing with everyone over the length of our strands.
Then with our cameras full of photos, our heads full of geeky new facts and our three different cheeses stowed away safely in the car (Camembert kept warm in the boot), we headed for home – via an ice cream on the Cobb at Lyme Regis, to finish off the mini holiday.