The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA), in conjunction with the Center for Dairy Research (CDR), will launch a first-of-its-kind Artisan Cheesemakers Master Workshop.  The two-day intensive training is set to run concurrently with the International Cheese Technology Expo at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, April 12-14, giving participants unique access to industry leaders and culminating in an unprecedented opportunity to work directly “at the vat” with master cheesemakers.

“For an up-and-coming artisan cheesemaker, there’s no better chance to network and learn from the industry’s best,” said John Umhoefer, WCMA Executive Director.  “We’re pleased to offer this special workshop, and grateful to those industry veterans who are generously sharing their knowledge with skilled artisans.”

Featured seminars on Wednesday, April 13th focus on rennet options, techniques for smear-ripened and washed-rind cheese, the creation of Spanish and Portuguese cheeses, and the art and science of cheese affinage.  Distinguished presenters include Bénédicte Coudé and John Jaeggi at the CDR, Thomas Milhoua, Technical Engineer for Air Quality Process of France, and Marianna Marques de Almeida, Senior Animal Scientist and Cheese Specialist for Ms. J and Co. of Monroe, Wisconsin.

On Thursday, April 14th, artisan cheesemakers will be bussed to nearby Clock Shadow Creamery, where experts will lead them in a hands-on production of Portuguese-style hard cheese made with 100% sheep’s milk and thistle rennet, as well as a Requesón-style cheese.  Vat-side discussion will be led by previous presenters and Bob Wills, Head Cheesemaker at Clock Shadow Creamery, Gary Grossen, Master Cheese Maker at Babcock Hall Dairy, Chris Roelli, Wisconsin Master Cheese Maker at Roelli Cheese, with more cheesemakers likely to join in the fun.  After the cheesemaking process, participants will be treated to a cheese tasting and sensory analysis guided by Patrick Polowsky, Sensory Coordinator at the CDR.

“This is a unique group of international speakers: Mariana Marques from Portugal and Thomas Milhoua from France, bringing the experience from their countries, and John Jaeggi, a third generation Wisconsin cheesemaker, explaining all about the art of smearing, this seminar will be an excellent opportunity for artisan cheesemakers, beginners and experienced, to learn more about the science and savoir-faire of artisan cheeses” said Bénédicte Coudé, Associate Researcher for the Cheese Industry and Applications Group at the Center for Dairy Research.

Participation in this workshop is extremely limited, and WCMA and CDR are pleased to offer registration at a special reduced rate.  Registrants must be active cheesemakers and will be approved for the workshop. Fees will include complete access to the workshop and all facets of the International Cheese Technology Expo, North America’s largest gathering of cheese industry leaders, suppliers, and marketers.

For more information, or to register today, call 608-828-4550 or visit www.cheeseexpo.org.