Ivan
Larcher making cheese

Professional Cheesemaking 101

The Academie MonS and Ivan Larcher have jointly organized a unique sequence of courses specifically designed for cheesemakers who want to refine their craft and learn more about maturing their cheeses.

Ivan Larcher, renowned French cheesemaking consultant, technologist and educator, teaches this 5-day basic practical course at Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne, France. The course covers several different styles of cheese making techniques. Students work with milk from the farm's Jersey cows and learn aspects of animal husbandry and milk production. Students have ample time to work one-on- one with Ivan to perfect new cheese make recipes, troubleshoot problems, and improve make room design and sanitation practices.

Professional Cheesemaking 101 is followed in sequence by either Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese or Cheesemaking 201.

Upcoming course dates:
•  January 28 - February 1, 2019
•  June 10-14, 2019
•  September 9-13, 2019

Tuition

The tuition for Professional Cheesemaking 101 is 2,800€. This includes classroom work, hands-on ateliers, lodging during the course, and all meals.

The Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne is located in the heart of the Auvergne, the central plateau of France. The Lycée is a French agricultural high school, with a professional teaching creamery and access to high-quality local milk. The facilities include formal classroom space.

Students will be lodged in private rooms at the Logis Hotel Regina in the hot springs spa town of La Bourboule.

Transportation between the hotel and the school will be provided by the Academie.

If taken as a suite with Affinage, the combined tuition for both courses is 5,000€.

Tuition for the full three week sequence of courses is 7,500€.

Payment should be made by PayPal or by bank transfer.

Your 50% deposit will be due immediately once we have approved your application. Your balance will be due in full 2 weeks prior to the start of your program.

Professional Cheesemaking 201

Students desiring more in-depth study on specific cheese styles have the opportunity to continue the sequence with Cheesemaking 201. This 5-day program is primarily classroom-based. A specific duo of cheese styles will be offered each time the course is offered:
  • Blue cheeses and semi-cooked cheeses (February 2019)
  • Soft-ripened bloomy rind and soft-ripened washed rind cheeses (June 2019)
  • Lactic-set and Tommes (September 2018 & 2019)
Cheesemaking 201 is offered at the Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne, located in the heart of the Auvergne, the central plateau of France. The Lycée is a French agricultural high school, with a professional teaching creamery and access to high-quality local milk. The facilities include formal classroom space.

The course will include a mixture of in-depth theory and hands-on cheesemaking practice in the specific make styles designated for each course session. Lodging, all meals, and transportation during the course are included in the tuition.

Upcoming course dates:
•  February 11-15, 2019
•  June 24-28, 2019
•  September 23-27, 2019**

Tuition

The tuition for Professional Cheesemaking 201 is 2,800€.

If taken as a suite with Affinage, the combined tuition for both courses is 5,000€.

**September 2019: Excursion to Bra, Italy included for students enrolled in both Affinage and Cheesemaking 201: total tuition 5,600€

Students must have previously completed Cheesemaking 101 or the equivalent as a prerequisite to Cheesemaking 201.

Tuition for the full three week sequence of courses is 7,500€.

Payment should be made by PayPal or by bank transfer.

Your 50% deposit will be due immediately once we have approved your application. Your balance will be due in full 2 weeks prior to the start of your program.

About Ivan Larcher

Ivan Larcher graduated from ENIL (the National Dairy School of Surgères, France) in 1999. He then joined the Rhodia Food Company to work as technical consultant in North East Asia for two years. Returning to France in 2001, Ivan then worked as a production manager in a goat cheeses factory near the Loire Valley for over a year and then joined the Carmejane Cheese Center - the Farmstead and Artisan cheese training institute located in Provence - to work as Education Manager and technical consultant until 2006, when he launched the Larcher Consulting company. Since then, Ivan has provided technical support and training for farmstead and artisan cheese makers in the USA, Canada, Europe, Middle East, and Australia.

In 2013 Julie and Ivan Larcher decided to reduce Ivan's international travel and so built their own cheese making operation on their farm, l'Or Blanc ('white gold') located on the northern outskirts of France's Massif Central. In order to be in total control of the milk quality entering the cheese vats, they have established a herd of 10 Jersey heifers on 35 hectares, refusing to use any type of fermented food in the animal's feed. The particular composition of the Jersey milk permits them to produce butter and cream, set and stirred yogurts, lactic soft and hard cheeses; commercial production started early May 2014.

After three years of offering the program at the Ferme l’Or Blanc, the Larchers sold their farm and, in partnership with MonS Formation, have moved the cheesemaking courses to the Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne, located in the heart of the Auvergne, the central plateau of France. The Lycée is a French agricultural high school, with a professional teaching creamery and access to high-quality local milk. The facilities include formal classroom space. This new venue will provide a yet greater level of professionalism to artisan cheesemakers.

Photo Gallery

Length of course

  • Five days / approximately 40+ hours
  • Cheesemaking 101: Intensively hands-on supplemented with theory
  • Cheesemaking 201: Primarily classroom theory building on basics developed in 101 course
  • Individual objectives can be established upon application to the program

Class Size

  • Maximum 6

Subjects: 101

  • Animal husbandry
  • Pasture management & fencing
  • Milking & milk quality
  • Cheese microbiology
  • Cheese make 'recipe' development
  • Fresh dairy products: yogurts, butter, cream,
  • Cheese production: lactic cheeses, soft washed rind, semi-hard and hard cooked cheeses
  • Production management & make room design
  • Traceability and HACCP records
  • Working with retailers and distributors

Subjects: 201

  • Specific chemistry for cheesemaking styles according to the theme of the course
  • Desired milk components for best results
  • Make recipes, sample make sheets
  • Specific equipment and tools needed for each style according to the theme of the course
  • Packaging issues for each style according to the theme of the course
  • Notions of affinage for each style according to the theme of the course
  • Visit to French creamery making at least one of the styles taught in the session

Methodology

  • Hands-on work in all aspects of farming and dairy production (101)
  • One-on-one work on individual objectives (101 & 201)
  • Course is taught in English, Spanish or French (Ivan is trilingual)
  • Visits to local cheesemakers and equipment suppliers can be organized upon request

Prerequisites

  • Cheesemaking experience, or a combination of course work and experience are strongly recommended
  • Cheesemakers and Affineurs are welcomed

Who Can Benefit?

Cheesemakers interested in:
  • Development of cheesemaking project
  • Developing/perfecting new recipes
  • Improving their craft
  • Troubleshooting problems in milk production or dairy product production
  • Expanding their product line
  • Converting from creamery to farmstead status (establishing their own herd of dairy animals in addition to their cheese make facilities)
Dairy Farmers interested in
  • Creating value-added product lines to their liquid milk production
  • Converting to pasture-based system (away from silage feeding)
Affineurs interested in:
  • Understanding the challenges facing cheesemakers
  • Gaining a full understanding of cheese before it arrives for ageing
  • Better identifying and understanding quality issues in affinage that stem from technical production issues
  • Working with cheesemakers to improve quality

Logistics

The cheesemaking courses are held at the Lycée Agricole Rochefort Montagne, located in the heart of the Auvergne, the central plateau of France. The Lycée is a French agricultural high school, with a professional teaching creamery and access to high-quality local milk. The facilities include formal classroom space.

Students in Cheesemaking courses with Ivan will be lodged in private rooms at the Logis Hotel Regina in the hot springs spa town of La Bourboule.

Students must arrive the day before the course begins. Ivan will meet the train at the Clermont-Ferrand train station (trains can be taken from Paris or Lyon).

At the end of the course on Friday, students will be taken back to the train station for their return home, or to continue on to Roanne and the Affinage course.

Upon enrollment in the course, the Academie will provide greater detail on all logistical arrangements.