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Isobel Piper's blue cheese workshop08-06-2012
Fromage fiend Isobel Piper led our cheesemaking workshop last weekend, focusing on blue, but including an assortment of quicker-to-make-cheeses including haloumi, ricotta, sour cream and gourmet feta.
It was a great group and Isobel commented on how much she could do with them as they were all quite competent! Two gentlemen commented on how impressed they were with being able to see how so many different forms of cheese were made in one workshop, and many participants commenting during the day on how happy they were with amount of hands-on experience they were getting (which is exactly what we want!)
A conversation around pasteurisation of milk was raised, as we had a dairy farmer in the group. It was very interesting to hear Isobel’s comments on the matter. She spoke about the importance of giving people a choice when it comes to eating cheese that is made from unpasteurised milk, and being mindful to use the pasteurisation method when making cheese that will take less than 3 months to mature to eliminate any risks of the cheese not having the correct flavours. Interesting!
A delicious lunch menu included:
- Haloumi with mint
- A selection of cheeses pre-prepared by Isobel
- Orange salad
- Pear and prosciutto
- A seasonal salad, bread and wine
- Poached quince with yoghurt for dessert
While making one cheese Isobel discovered that the curds forming on top of the mix were creating ricotta, so she simply scooped that out and it was dressed and served for lunch. An unexpected extra dish! This amazed us all as it showed how different cheeses can be created along the way.
The highlight of the day, however, was definitely the making of haloumi. It was a short process with amazing results. The participants were able to see the complete process of making one type of cheese from beginning to end. Everyone enjoyed the tactile experience in folding the haloumi with a leaf of mint inside the fold. It was then fried and served for lunch. Delicious!
Isobel has generously supplied her workshop notes to all Kitchen Garden Schools and Subscribers – just search for ‘Blue cheese’ in the Resource Library.
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