Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals is the only cheese training program currently available that integrates visits and hands-on experience with detailed classroom instruction.

Intimate class sizes encourage wide-ranging discussions among colleagues, enhancing the educational experience and supporting professional networking.

This cheese training has been in a process of continual evolution since 2005, and has been taught to more than 300 French cheese professionals at MonS. Director Laurent Mons has taught variations on this curriculum for the French National Centre de Formation des Produits Laitièrs, for the Centre Interprofessionnel de Documentation et d'Information Laitières, as well as for such national food retailers as Casino and Tradition Lanquetot Societé.

Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals has been translated and adapted into English for an international clientele of cheese professionals.

This program serves as an appropriate prerequisite to Affinage.

Upcoming course dates:
•  February 12-16, 2018
•  June 11-15, 2018
•  September 10-14, 2018

Class size limited to 6; minimum 3 enrollments required for course to be held.


The tuition for Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals is 2,800€. This includes classroom work, hands-on ateliers, visits, lodging during the course and all lunches. It also includes ground transportation between the Academie and Lyon.

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

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

Payment should be made 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.

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Length of course

  • One week residency/5 days of training (40+ hours)
  • 50% theory and discussion, 50% hands-on and practice and visits

Class Size

  • Maximum of 6 students, minimum of 3 students


  • From pasture to milk to cheese
  • Sensory evaluation for retailers
  • Setting a cheese case for a retail shop
  • Cheese merchandising
  • Retail sales skills & best practices
  • Hygiene & regulations, traceability, HACCP


  • Classroom theory & discussion
  • Hands-on practice: cheesemaking, receiving product and triage, retail case setting, cutting/wrapping
  • Daily cheese tastings
  • Students train directly with practicing professionals
  • Homework assignments and tests
  • Classroom sessions are taught in French with English translation

Who can benefit?

Cheesemongers interested in:
  • Advancing their career in cheese
  • Increasing sales and customer loyalty
  • Improving cheese care & reducing waste and loss of product
  • Sourcing cheese directly or indirectly
  • Managing their retail establishment with higher efficiency, quality and standards
Cheese distribution professionals (import/export/distribution/wholesale) interested in:
  • Expanding and improving their product lines
    • Understanding sourcing
    • Analyzing the market and understanding how to best balance a cheese selection
  • Improving product handling to reduce waste and loss, and ensuring optimum quality upon delivery
  • Advancing from order-takers to expert, proactive, consultative sales people
  • Enhancing their relationship with cheesemakers by demonstrating an ability to properly care for cheese
  • Enhancing their relationship with cheese retailers/restaurateurs by demonstrating expertise and providing superior cheese education
Cheesemakers interested in:
  • Effectively positioning their cheese in the marketplace
  • Selling their products either directly or through a distribution system
Cheese professionals preparing to:
  • Take the ACS Certified Cheese Professional™ exam
  • Compete in the Larkin Cheesemonger Invitational, the Mondial du Fromage or other cheesemonger competitions
  • Serve as a judge for cheese competitions


Analyze and describe cheese using sensory analysis based on all five senses
  • Identify textures and their sources
  • Distinguish desired flavors from off flavors for each cheese
  • Learn to ‘read’ both rind and cheese paste
Understand cheese making principles and how they influence the organoleptic experience of the final product
  • Understand the natural cycles and biochemistry of cheese
    • Production: climate and animal cycles
    • Affinage: natural progressions
    • Pathogens: critical points and preventions
Best practices for managing a retail cheese environment
  • Demonstrate a basic understanding of the biochemistry that drives HACCP principles and be able to apply best hygiene and sanitation practices in a real-life setting
  • Develop and manage a quality control system using logical checkpoints
  • Understand principles of case setting to increase both sales and efficiency
  • Demonstrate the ability to correctly cut cheese of various formats using a variety of cheese cutting tools, including harps, wires and knives
  • Precisely and attractively wrap cheese of various sizes and formats
Understand and use resources for sourcing cheese, either directly or indirectly
  • Analyze what happens on a farm and how it determines and predicts quality and consistency
  • Understand the value and meaning of various cheese competitions, classifications and categories
  • Working with distributors and analyzing their competency and product lines
Sell and market cheese effectively
  • Accurately and clearly describe cheese to entice the client to purchase
  • Understand cheese families and styles, and through sensory analysis share that understanding with clients
  • Advise clients, both wholesale and retail, on best use and care for the cheese they purchase
  • Build and expand your cheese vocabulary