Blocks of grana padano cheese in a row

Professional Cheese Studies

Take a deep dive into the wide world of cheese with a Maître Fromager

Over the past 20 years, the American public’s appetite for cheese has evolved to an unprecedented level of connoisseurship.

Cheese programs have emerged at many fine dining establishments, regional specialties such as cheese curds, pimento cheese and specialty cheddars have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, and the state of artisanal cheesemaking has begun to rival the traditions long cultivated by our European counterparts. 

That said, our hunger for new and emerging styles of cheese has not always been partnered with a widespread education on the history, methods and nutritional science underlying the process of cheesemaking. This is why we’re thrilled to introduce a new, immersive two-session “Mastering Cheese” course with Maître Fromager Max McCalman to our menu of professional development opportunities.

Learn more about the details of the program below.

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Mastering Cheese: An Intensive Course

Become a cheese master by learning from one! Whether you're a cheese professional studying to take the American Cheese Society’s Certification Exam or an avid enthusiast looking to deepen your understanding, this course will expand your knowledge, enhance your palate and sharpen your senses on every level when dealing with cheese. Max McCalman, acknowledged as one of the cheese world's living legends due to his expertise, insight and passion for cheese, will teach this two-session, 14-hour class. Students will sample more than 40 cheeses, and all sessions will include wine pairings. Everyone will receive a diploma acknowledging their successful completion of the class.

Cheeses studied in professional cheese studies.

Day 1: The Basics of Cheese

The first class will offer a thorough overview of all things cheese. Students will be given a brief history of cheese, followed by an explanation of the differences in various cheese styles (e.g. washed rind, bloomy rind, tomme) and milk types (e.g. goat, sheep, cow); the influences of terroir, animal breeds and seasons; and how cheeses are classified and categorized. Digging deeper into composition of dairy milks, students will learn their function; how cultures and rennet fit into the process; and an introduction to cheese ripening (affinage). By the end of the class, students will know how to make an initial analysis and evaluation of a cheese; how to properly cut, package, store and display cheese; and what can go wrong when those steps are done incorrectly. Finally, the business of cheese will be explained: the business and economic sides of cheese in the retail and restaurant environments; what is an A.O.C., P.D.O. or A.O.P. cheese.

Cheese from a course on cheese nutrition at ICE.

Day 2: Nutrition. Is cheese good for you?

This session will take an in-depth look at cheese nutrition, including how cheese compares with other foods; how milk type contributes to the nutritional content of each cheese; allergies attributed to cheese; the controversy over its fat and salt content; and the view that cheese is "the perfect food.” It will also cover the “raw milk debate”: should all cheeses be pasteurized? Should all cheese be raw? Students will hear all sides of the debate, and learn current regulations for imported and domestic cheeses. By the end of the session, students will better know how to tell if a cheese is raw or pasteurized through taste and smell. They’ll end with a discussion on pairings and cooking with cheese; likely accompaniments; and entertaining with cheese. Students will receive suggested readings and resources to further enhance their mastery of cheese.