The more I talk to cheesemakers, the more it seems to me that it’s quite a lonely occupation.
Small artisan producers usually work by themselves or as part of a tiny team, spending all day in small dairies focused intently on things like temperature, milk quality and acidity levels. It’s painstaking work, which takes years to master.
Not surprisingly, a lot of cheesemakers find it hard to get the time for their own professional development. They’re too busy up to their arms in curds to go on courses, learn new skills and network.
This is one of the reasons why a new training scheme has been launched, which is offering two scholarship opportunities to budding cheesemakers.
The scheme is offering two Artisan Cheese Maker Scholarships: a Professional Hard Cheesemaking Course at the School of Artisan Food in Nottinghamshire (pictured) and a Soft Cheese course at AB Cheesemaking in Cheshire.
It’s been set by Jaap de Jonge, a Dutchman who is a bit of a hero in the artisan cheese world. He runs a company called Jongia, which supplies cheese ingredients and equipment. He also takes cheesemakers on tours of each others’ dairies and has recently launched an annual cheese conference. If you’re interested in making cheese at home, he also has some nice home cheese kits.
Applications for the scholarship must be submitted 31 December 2012. You can learn more about them and download an entry form here.