Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cheese Making....

Hello Everyone,
I recently attended a 4 day Cheese Making course and I thought I would share some of my experiences with you.  The event was put on by another business owner here in Belize after he himself attended a course in Vermont just over a year and a half ago.  I have to thank Ian for his generosity in allowing us to spend 5 wonderful nights at his place and sharing his newfound knowledge with us.  My plan is to make enough cheese for our guests at Mystic River Resort and to introduce a 4th course to our already fabulous 3 course dinner!
The teachers were Linda and Larry Faillace and I just cannot say enough about them!  They were absolutely amazing, marvelous people with a dedication to making artisan cheese that I have seldom encountered.  Their love of the craft is something to behold.
There were four of us in the course, plus Ian's three "Cheese Girls" and we had a blast.  I made new friends, Rey and Mike, farmers from Belmopan here in Belize, and Jeri, who works for the New England Cheese Making Supplies company (she is the one who helped me get all my stuff together and she writes a great blog for cheesers!).  Thank you Jeri!
On day 1, we were given our own binder with information on the cheeses we would be making, along with receipes and invaluable information, and our own apron and off we went, making Feta, Ricotta, Queso Blanco and Yogurt!!
Larry and Linda were fabulous at answering questions AND very patient!  At the end of that first day, Ian decided that we should have a cheese tasting event in the dining room and by the time we were done, there was no room left in my stomach for dinner...
Tom came to join me for dinner as he had to leave for the States the following day.  I think he really enjoyed the cheese tasting!
Day 2 was the worst for me because I got totally confused, couldn't remember a thing and felt like I would never learned, but I persevered and among the cheeses we made that day, I learned to make a mozzarella ball (mine were not the prettiest but they sure tasted good!), and this great little cheese called Spressa.  We also made Trappist cheese and Old Brabander!
Day 3, everything came together, just as Linda had said on day 1!  It all started to make sense and everything fell into place.  I learned how to stir the curds gently so as to not break them, fill the molds with the curds, how to turn the cheese, how to salt it and brine it, how to wipe it and how to roll it into herbs and spices to taste!!
The final event was the viewing of Ian's Aging Room for the cheeses and that's when I got jealous!  What a fabulous room, full of cheeses resting and aging gracefully.  I can't wait to have one of my own, aging room that is, where my creations can rest and age as well.
And finally, we got to taste all the cheeses we had made and compare them.  All that and a glass of wine!  What a fabulous time we had and I can't wait to go to the advanced course!  I started as a beginner and at the end of 3 days I felt like a professional!
Check out my progress over the next few months, and find out when "La Fromagerie" will open and when the wine and cheese tasting will begin.  I guess the French in me never really left!
Check out the photos of the course below.

As a last to final word, Linda Faillace is a fabulous writer and she has written a book called
"Mad Sheep - The True Story Behind The USDA's War on a Family Farm" which recounts the events surrounding how the USDA seized and destroyed their flock of sheeps!  I could not put the book down.  It is a true story and it is their story!
And as a final word on my favourite subject....Trip Advisor!  I should write my own book about them for sure.  It has come to our attention that Trip Advisor has been holding off on posting reviews that our guests have written for us for the last three months.  Tom and I were totally unaware of it until one day we realized we had fallen to #7!!  The reason for that is because very very few reviews have been posted recently and apparently that will affect the rating of a property.  I started asking guests if they had written the review they had promised to write and found out that a very large majority had indeed written the review but for some reason the review went into a "pending" mode!  We contacted Trip Advisor to find out what the problem was and of course met a brick wall!  So, if you do write a review for us (please please please don't forget!), you now have to make sure it gets posted otherwise God only knows where it will end the Trip Advisor Galaxy of "pending" reviews!!
Take care and have a fabulous day.
Nadege Thomas