Ivan
Larcher making cheese

Professional Cheesemaking 101 at La Ferme l'Or Blanc

The Academie Opus Caseus 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 his farm l'Or Blanc in Cheniers, 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.

Course dates:
•  February 13-17, 2017
•  April 24-28, 2017
•  September 11-15, 2017 (+Bra**)

Tuition

The tuition for Professional Cheesemaking 101 at La Ferme l'Or Blanc is 2,800€. This includes classroom work, hands-on ateliers, lodging during the course, and all meals.

Students will be lodged at a nearby auberge; ground transportation will be provided between the auberge and the farm. Students continuing on to the Affinage course at Mons in St Haon will be driven to St Haon; departing students will be taken to the train to return to Paris.

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€.

**September 2017: Excusion to Bra, Italy included for enrollments of 2 weeks: total tuition 5,600€

Payment may be made by PayPal.

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:
  • Lactic cheeses & Tommes (February 2017)
  • Soft-ripened bloomy rind and soft-ripened washed rind cheeses (May 2017)
  • Blue cheeses and semi-cooked cheeses (September 2017)
Each style of cheese will be studied over two days; the Wednesday of the course will include a visit to a French creamery for practical observation. Cheesemaking 201 is offered at the Academie’s classroom at the Mons facilities in St Haon le Chatel. Lodging, all meals, and transportation during the course are included in the tuition.

Course dates:
•  February 27-March 3, 2017
•  May 8-12, 2017
•  September 25-29, 2015

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€.

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 may be made by PayPal.

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 and the Ferme l'Or Blanc

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.

Photo Gallery

La Ferme l'Or Blanc: Ivan Larcher

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: Cheesemaking 101

La Ferme de l'Or Blanc is located in a tiny hamlet called Les Touches. The nearest village is Chenièrs (pop. 567). The département is the Creuse, and the region is the Limousin.

Students will be lodged at La Vergnolle, a bed and breakfast about 25 km (30 minutes' drive) from the farm. Ivan will provide ground transportation daily.

Students must arrive the morning before the first day of the course.

Ivan will drive students continuing directly on to Mons in St Haon le Châtel for the Affinage course. Other students will be returned to the Montluçon train station.

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

Logistics: Cheesemaking 201

The course will be taught in the Academie’s classroom at Mons’ affinage facility the Tunnel de la Collonge in Ambièrle, in the Département de la Loire, in the Auvergne-Rhone- Alpes region of France.

Students will be lodged at the Hotel du Golf in nearby Roanne, about 15 minutes from the classroom site. Breakfast and dinner will be provided daily at the Hotel; lunch will be provided in the classroom. Ivan will provide ground transportation daily.

Students continuing on from the Affinage course will retain their room at the hotel.

Students arriving for Cheesemaking 201 should arrive at Lyon no later than 11 am the day prior to the start of the course. The meeting point will be the Mons shop at the Halles Paul Bocuse in Lyon; transportation will be provided to the hotel as part of the program.

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