Irish School Of Cheese – Academy Of Cheese
The last time I was writing about Avril Molloy, she was a cheese monger, working for Sheridan’s and now she is the founder of Ireland’s first School Of Cheese. The difference two years make!
Shortly after our last interview, Avril took a career break and more importantly, the time to really think about what she wanted to do next. There was never any doubt that it would be cheese and artisan food related as this is where her passion is. Her time in Sheridan’s honed her deep appreciation for cheese into a full-blown passion and she took the decision to explore the world of cheese even further and decided to invest her time and effort in education.
It makes perfect sense if you know Avril, she loves people. She likes working with them, helping them develop, and see them thrive. Her background in HR really comes through in that side of her. So teaching people about cheese is possibly the very best job for Avril.
Getting to this point involved investment in time and money as she had to travel to the UK and pass the 2 first levels of the Cheese Academy, a not for profit organisation which educates people in all things dairy. Their accreditation programme has 4 levels. Level 1 is for beginners and level 4 is the Master of Cheese level, think of that one as being for cheese sommeliers. Not many will need to or want to get to that level but what a title to carry proudly, Master of Cheese. Imagine that!
As part of the Irish School Of Cheese, Avril offers the same accrediation programme training programme for Level 1 and Level 2. The rest will follow.
I’ve recently taken the first level course (paid for in full before you ask) and although I’ve not done my exam yet, I will soon and, fingers crossed, I will gain the accreditation. The course isn’t cheap and if you’re considering whether it’s for you, here are a few things that I think you should know.
- The course concentrates on European cheeses
- It teaches you how cheese is made
- You will learn about the distribution chain
- You will learn to taste and describe cheese in a standardised way (I found this particularly interesting)
- You will learn how to wrap and cut cheese and put together a well balanced cheese board
- You will receive far too much cheese so be prepared to share with family, friends and the parish (if you’re doing the course online)
This happens over the course of 3 weeks, where you will have to commit to up to 3 hours per week for the lesson and some reading time in between.
If the above doesn’t appeal or is a bit too heavy duty for your needs, you should consider getting together with your friends and get Avril to run an online guided tasting class for you of a winter evening. It’s a fun thing to do, especially if you do it with people you know and like cheese. She can take you on a tour of Irish farmhouse cheeses and get you to discover something a bit different or you can chat to her about your specific requirement and she can put an evening together that will feet your needs.
What I’m trying to say is that, for Christmas, invest in yourself and invest in cheese and get yourself a voucher for the Irish School Of Cheese. You will have the satisfaction of cheese and of helping a brand new food start-up take off in an otherwise very difficult year.