Sunday, December 7, 2014

Cheese School of San Francisco ~ Basic Primer

Cheese School of San Francisco Tasting Classroom
Cheese School of San Francisco Tasting Classroom
Founded in 2006 by Sara Vivenzio, the Cheese School of San Francisco is the only independent institution of its kind in the nation. Located at 2155 Powell Street between North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, the atmosphere in the school is absolutely charming.

I took the Basic Cheese Primer class taught by Judy Creighton. Judy serves as a board member for the California Artisan Cheese Guild and has a deep history in cheese appreciation. In addition to her consulting and educational work, she is also the cheese buyer at Lavender Ridge Cheese Market in Murphys, CA. Having spent many years as a French teacher, Judy’s classroom manner is engaging and the information is easily digested.
Cheese School of San Franciso Basic Primer Setting
Basic Primer Place Setting

Cheeses were arranged on individual tasting plates in a clockwise fashion. The first four were chosen as an introduction to the basic “types” from the creamy Fromage Blanc which is ready for market within minutes of being made to long-aged Grana types, including Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is often aged at least two years and sometimes more.

As we touched, smelled and tasted our way around our plates, Judy encouraged us to experiment with combining the cheese flavors with the dried fruits, nuts and wine at the table. I especially enjoyed being able to experiment with both red ( Marietta Cellars, Old Vine Red, Lot#54) and white (2009 Domaine La Hitaire, “Les Tours”, Vin de Pays de CĂ´tes de Gascogne) wine on such a wide variety of cheeses.

The whole experience was a thorough delight. Classes are often filled soon after they are posted, but if you miss out on one, there will certainly be more to come.  The Cheese School of San Francisco has become part of the city’s cultural heritage.