Affinage for Cheesemakers & Cheesemongers ADVANCED

Course Duration

4 days


Ivan Larcher



Returning in 2025


8:30 am to 5:00 pm




A deep dive into the science, art and practice of the care and ripening of artisan cheeses – soft, lactic, washed rind, blues, semi-hard, hard – to maximise their quality and sensory appeal. Very relevant for artisan cheesemakers, but also for those responsible for selling cheese, the cheesemongers, whether at the wholesale or retail level.

Ivan Larcher will be your teacher and cheese/affinage guide for the 5 days. We will also be joined by live video by one of the world’s best affinage experts, Laurent Mons of Mons Formation, France – as well as giving us a virtual personal tour of the fabulous Mons cheese caves, Laurent will explain the job of an Affineur and the key matters the Affineur must manage with both supplier cheesemakers and customers, the pros and cons of splitting the cheesemaker and Affineur roles, and how the relationship works with their cheesemakers.


You will spend each day partly in The Cheese School and partly in the cheese ageing rooms of the Long Paddock Cheese fromagerie.

There are no pre-requisites for this course, but it is an advanced cheesemaking course. Previous commercial cheesemaking experience and study is recommended, including having undertaken our Artisan Cheesemaking Fundamentals course.


  • In-depth coverage of the factors governing cheese ripening.
  • The specific roles of the different microbes in the ageing process for different cheese types – lactic acid bacteria, yeasts, moulds and ripening bacteria.
  • Choice of cultures for ageing profiles of different cheese types.
  • Rind development deep dive for different cheeses.
  • Equipment and setup for artisan cheese ageing and how to minimise the costs of what could otherwise be a very expensive exercise!
  • The importance of air systems in ageing rooms and how to do it effectively but simply.
  • Cheese ripening defects, what to look for, how to assess and correct them.
  • Triage techniques for cheese rind defects.
  • Sensory analysis techniques, how to use spider graphs to track cheese grading and assessment.
  • Several vertical and horizontal cheese tastings.
  • Wine and cheese tasting one evening.
  • Opportunities throughout the course to ask questions of and seek guidance from Ivan about cheesemaking, cheese ripening and the business of cheese.
Ivan turning cheese
driftwood on racks


  • Cost: There is a 10% discount for existing students of The Cheese School and for cheesemaker/startup cheesemaker/associate members of ASCA (Australian Specialist Cheesemakers’ Association).
  • Participant numbers are limited to just 8-10.
  • Accommodation: there are lots of options for short-term accommodation near The Cheese School.
  • Meals: breakfast and lunch + tea and coffee are included in the cost. There are several nearby pubs and restaurants and other options available for evening meals. Please advise of any dietary restrictions on registration.
  • Cheese to take home: you can take the cheese you make home with you, with guidance from Ivan on how to ripen it.
  • Area: Castlemaine is a vibrant town nestled in Central Victoria, celebrated for its thriving artisanal food scene and creative artists. The Cheese School is conveniently located at The Mill, a hub for food and artisan manufacturing. Our onsite food and beverage neighbours include a cafe, coffee roasters, winery, ice-creamery, baker, small goods-maker, chocolatier, brewery &taproom, fruit and vegetable store, as well as numerous artists furniture makers.
  • Payment details: 50% is payable on application (by EFT to our bank account), with the remaining 50% payable 3 weeks before the course starts.
  • Cancellation Policy: Once a course/class is booked, the booking is FINAL and all amounts paid are NON-REFUNDABLE. If, however, you are unable to attend, provided you give us at least 14 days’ notice by email before the start date of the course/class you booked, you can assign your booking and your payment will be credited either: (a) to a new available date (within 12 months of the original course/class), or (b) to another person who may attend the course/class in your place.
  • We reserve the right to postpone or cancel a course/class at short notice should events beyond our control make this unavoidable. Should this occur, you will be offered the choice of: (a) a place on our next available scheduled course/class of the same type, or (b) a full refund.
  • Redeeming Gift Vouchers: Should you wish to redeem a gift voucher as part of your enrolment, please ensure you provide the unique voucher number when registering on our website.
  • Apply: please click the Book Now button above to fill in the registration form. You will receive an email confirmation letting you know we have successfully received your details. We will also be in contact you within 7 days to provide further information about your nominated course, including an invoice for the 50% deposit.

We have kept the cost of our courses down compared with equivalent courses elsewhere. We want to encourage those interested in professional cheesemaking to learn the skills from the master! We also offering a discount for the ASCA member categories mentioned above, as we believe in fostering a collaborative small-scale dairy community in Australia through their industry association.

Register your interest for 2025