It's excruciatingly hard to imagine one thing on this great big world as perfect as cheese. Its soft, chewy goodness is just the right complement to everything from pasta, bread, grapes and to leafy kale. In addition to being so good-natured, cheese is also unwavering in its loyalty and steadfast love. Unlike your infamous best friend who ditches you on the weekends to hang out with her boyfriend, cheese will never leave your side. Unlike your well-intentioned grandmother, who always seems to say the worst things at the worst times, cheese will never say anything that will ever upset you. Cheese will always be there for you.
And the best news of all? Going to college may mean saying goodbye to home, but definitely not to cheese! Here are five universities that offer a wide range of courses on cheese to help deepen your relationship even further with this little slice of perfection on earth.
1. Université François Rabelais de Tours
At l'Université François Rabelais de Tours in France, students can actually earn a university diploma in “Fromage et Patrimone,” or “Cheese and Heritage.” This 10-month curriculum covers the history and geography of milk production and the cheese industry, the sociology behind food, marketing and sales and the anthropology of the consumption of cheese. Furthermore, students will be able to graduate with a practical knowledge of cheese through a multi-disciplinary training in all aspects of cheese-making and the selling of cheese including knowledge of the social value of cheese consumption and the handling of the world's varieties.
The pursuit of this diploma is available to students who have been in further education for two years, individuals working in cheese production, retail and catering, as well as foreign students.
2. University of Guelph
The University of Guelph offers an annual five-day "Cheese Making Technology Short Course" on the scientific and technological principles behind the process of cheese making. Here you can learn all about milk quality, treatment and chemistry, cheese processing, ripening and packaging, sanitation, quality control and cheese grating.
Taught mainly through interactive lectures and hands-on cheese making laboratories, this exciting course allows attendees to explore the manufacturing of all sorts of different cheeses, such as cheddar, provolone, gouda, Colby, Havarti, ricotta, feta, camembert, romano, swiss and frying and processed cheese.
There are no prerequisites – except for an enthusiasm for cheese, of course!
3. Penn State University
Penn State's “The Science and Art of Cheese Making” is a short four-day course with an emphasis on interactive learning through the integration of classroom discussions, demonstrations, tasting sessions and hands-on cheese making and microbiology labs. It covers everything from milk composition and microbiology, to cheese making principles and sanitation practices, to sensory evaluation and food safety plans. Attendees will gain knowledge of the materials and processes used to make specialty cheeses. This course is open to all those who are interested, without any prior requirements – all are welcome, whether you are a business owner, a regulatory personnel, an artisan dairy producer or just another cheese lover.
A few highlights of this course include a wine and cheese reception, a trip to a pilot plant to make several varieties of cheeses and even a microbiology tasting session. Sign me up!
4. Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research
The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research (CDR), located within a licensed, operating dairy plant on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, is a world-renowned leader in research and outreach education beneficial to the dairy industry and its consumers.
In 1890, the CDR became the first in the United States to offer a dairy foods short course. Today, there is an astounding variety of different short courses available through the CDR, such as the "Master Artisan Short Course Series," the "Cheese Tech Short Course," the "Cheese Grating Short Course," the "Making Consistent, Quality Cheese with Concentrated Milk Course," the "World of Cheese from Pasture to Plate Course" and the "Wisconsin Process Cheese Seminar."
As these courses can range from two days to two months, there is always something in Wisconsin to suit every cheese lover’s schedule and interests!
5. Washington State University Creamery
The Washington State University Creamery – home of world-famous, natural Cougar Gold Cheese – has been offering their “Cheese Making Short Course” since 1986. This three-day program addresses a huge range of topics, such as filtration technology, cheese cultures, food pathogens and quality issues. It also informs attendees how the different steps in the cheese making process affect the flavor, body and texture of the final product, as well as how to calculate cheese yield and how to distinguish between cheddar, Italian and continental cheeses. The most exciting part of this entire course, though, is probably the one full day devoted entirely to hands-on cheese making and cheese eating.
Please note, however, that this course is labeled as an advanced class and that it is recommended that attendees have some experience in cheese making or have attended a basic cheese making class (possibly one of the above four options in this article!) as a prerequisite.
So what are you still waiting for? Whether you are in France or Canada or Wisconsin or Washington, there is something to interest the hearts of even the most choosiest of cheese lovers. From cheese anthropology to microbiology labs to hands-on making and tasting sessions, the world of cheese is yours for the taking!