The Cheese School in Castlemaine announces Kristen Allan classes

The domestic cheesemaking classes at The Cheese School join an already successful roster of courses for professionals.
The domestic cheesemaking classes at The Cheese School join an already successful roster of courses for professionals. Photo: Supplied

While lockdowns have been no fun for Castlemaine's Cheese School, the delays of 2021 have brought the gift of talented cheesemaker Kristen Allan, who decided in August to relocate from Sydney to central Victoria and will be teaching classes at the school from December.

Allan has taught home cheesemaking for more than nine years and at one time supplied Sydney's top restaurants with a buttermilk ricotta that became so popular, she was working seven days a week and, eventually, pulled the pin on the operation. Restaurants despaired but budding cheesemakers rejoiced, as she turned her attention to teaching full-time.

And now it's Victoria's turn to celebrate. Allan's first class on December 11 will cover yoghurt, cultured butter, labne and buttermilk ricotta, with hands-on instruction as well as explanations of the how and why. A second class will run on January 15.

Kristen Allan has spent nearly 10 years teaching cheesemaking for those making at home.
Kristen Allan has spent nearly 10 years teaching cheesemaking for those making at home. Photo: Luisa Brimble

"I'd been following her online for quite a while when she was based in Sydney," says Alison Lansley, co-founder of The Cheese School. "We'd discussed her coming to Victoria to do classes a while ago… then I heard she was moving to central Victoria – serendipity!"

Lansley, who is also secretary of the Australian Specialist Cheesemakers' Association, opened The Cheese School in October 2020 along with Ivan and Julie Larcher, cheesemakers at Long Paddock.

The Larchers came to Australia to share their knowledge of French methods of making artisan cheese, and Ivan has been teaching professional cheesemaking classes at The Cheese School throughout 2021 (when lockdown permitted).

Ivan and Julie Larcher (left) with Alison Lansley at The Cheese School in October 2020.
Ivan and Julie Larcher (left) with Alison Lansley at The Cheese School in October 2020. Photo: Simon Schluter

"Everyone wants to learn from him and he is both an outstanding cheesemaker and educator, a rare combination," says Lansley.

He will continue five-day courses for professionals on everything from cheese fundamentals to mastering specific varieties, like blue or hard, with future classes possibly covering dairy animal welfare and the business aspects of artisan cheesemaking.

As for those making at home, Allan will offer classes at The Cheese School more or less monthly and may add tutorials on other fresh cheeses like feta or mozzarella in future. Those interested in touring Long Paddock cheese to see how a commercial facility works will be offered the chance to add this for a fee. Allan also teaches virtually and at other venues.

The Cheese School is located at The Mill, 1-9 Walker Street, Castlemaine. Bookings for Kristen's classes via https://kristenallan.com.au/.