The Art of Cheesemaking {FCP Culinary Workshop in Napa Valley}

The Art of Cheesemaking {FCP Culinary Workshop in Napa Valley}

Explore the process of cheesemaking including the six steps to making cheese and how the flavors are created!
Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all had a relaxing weekend filled with lots of good food, family, and beautiful weather. For those of us here in Michigan, we got teased with spring on Friday with near 70 degree temperatures and plenty of sunshine. Then Saturday came. It rained most of the day and was somewhere in the 40's. What can I say? That's #pureMichigan for you!

If you follow me on social media, which I know a lot of you do, then you may have caught a glimpse of my trip to Napa Valley, California a few weeks ago. I traveled there with my client, the Dairy Industry of Michigan, and a couple of my favorite blogger friends to the Food & Culinary Professionals 2017 Culinary Workshop. The theme was Learn ~ Experience ~ Master. We had sessions about the art of cheesemaking; we learned about the art and science of food from the dairy farm to table; and we heard about 2017 food trends. 

Here I am making the most delicious golden beet and fresh mozzarella salad at the Culinary Institute of America!
One of my favorite sessions was all about cheese. No surprise, right? Everyone knows that I'm obsessed with cheese! I wanted to share with you some of the things I learned during the workshop. Did you know that all cheese is made with just four basic ingredients? Those ingredients are milk, culture, coagulating enzyme, and salt. All cheese starts out this way, it's what happens during the cheesemaking process that makes them different.

There are six steps in the cheesemaking process - 
  1. Coagulating
  2. Cutting
  3. Cooking
  4. Draining
  5. Salting
  6. Ripening (aging)
Scientifically, cheese is categorized using three properties: the moisture content, fat content, and calcium contest. Cheese is then categorized into one of eight cheese families - 
  1. Cheddar
  2. Continental - includes gouda, havarti, manchego, fontina
  3. Pasta Filata - includes mozzarella, provolone
  4. Cottage and fresh cheeses - such as queso fresco
  5. Swiss - includes emmental and masadam
  6. Soft cheese (mold ripened, blue veined) - includes brie, camembert
  7. Parmiagano Reggiano (hard cheeses) - includes parmesan, pecorino, grana padano 
  8. Traditional Greek (white cheese) - such as feta 
The first three on the list make up 70% of the cheese that people eat!

Getting the various flavors of cheese is accomplished by the milk composition, the cultures used, acidity, temperature, cut size, salting method, and ripening time. It was very interesting to me to learn about this process and how my favorite cheeses are made.  

Not only did we attend learning sessions, but we also had plenty of hands on experience! We got to help make fresh mozzarella and also made our own wood fired pizza that was out of this world. We made Dungeness Crab Profiteroles, and Caramelized Shallot and Granny Smith Apple Tartlets. We ate delicious food. Lots and lots of delicious food.

So thankful for the opportunity to visit the Culinary Institute of America with these ladies!
Our UDIM group also did some really fun off-site activities. We went wine tasting, enjoyed the most amazing dinner at the Farmstead Long Meadow Ranch Chef's Table, and we also took a cooking class at The Culinary Institute of America. Honestly this was one of the most amazing weekends for me. I learned so much, enjoyed the company of some wonderful friends, and ate until I could eat no more.
Kirsten and Rachel making fresh pasta!
I hope you learned something new today by reading about my "cheesy" adventure. Next month I'll be sharing a little more about my experience, as well as a new recipe inspired by the trip!
Enjoying a cocktail before we sit down for the Chef's Table dinner at Farmstead!
Milk Means More paid for my travel and expenses to attend the FCP Culinary Workshop. 
This post was written as part of my partnership with them. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Learn more about Milk Means More and find other delicious recipes by following them on FacebookInstagramTwitterPinterest and YouTube!

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