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Blue Cheese for Christmas

Give yourself the best kind of blue Christmas, with a day of specialist cheesemaking at the River Cottage Cookery School.

Give yourself the best kind of blue Christmas, with a day of specialist cheesemaking at the River Cottage Cookery School.

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a beautiful Stilton in pride of place on the cheeseboard. But blue cheese takes time, so we’re planning ahead for the festive season with a special one-off day of autumn cheese craft.

Under expert guidance you’ll start off your own blue ‘cheesemake’, learn everything you need to know about starters, cultures, draining, piercing and maturing your cheese, and leave with curds all ready to ripen in time for those Christmas parties. You’ll have a lesson in pairing your blue cheese with port too, and with the gorgeous Devon countryside outside the window and a hearty River Cottage lunch to fuel your hard work, it’s the perfect way to start looking forward to the very best season’s eatings. Just add crackers.

Your day

09:30 - 17:00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll be met at the top of the hill and transported to River Cottage HQ by tractor and trailer.

  • Make yourself at home

    Meet your host and settle in with morning tea, coffee and snacks, fresh from the River Cottage kitchen.

  • Session one

    First you’ll get your cheese underway. You’ll learn how to source the right milk, and the starter cultures, rennet, moulds and yeasts that are essential to the process.

  • Session two

    Time to cut your curd. As it drains, the class will be taught about the different approaches to blue cheese production in the UK and Europe, followed by a lesson on pairing wine with blue cheese. You’ll compare a mature Stilton to an under-ripe supermarket version, and taste for yourself why tawny port makes a better blue cheese companion than ruby port.

  • Session three

    Back to your draining curds, next you’ll get to grips with 'hastening', 'rubbing-up' and 'piercing' the cheeses and learn about the conditions you need for perfect maturation.

  • Lunch

    Time to take a break from your cheese makes and tuck into a two-course lunch of local, seasonal fare, prepared by the River Cottage chefs.

  • Session four

    Next you’ll learn how to make cultured, sweet cream and flavoured butters to take home, while your blue cheese continues to acidify.

  • Session five

    When they’re ready, you’ll finish the day by 'milling' and salting your blue cheese curds and transferring them to the moulds, where they’ll mature and ripen in time for Christmas. You will also take away starter, moulds and yeasts, ready for your next blue cheese project.

  • Departure

    There will be time to chat to your fellow scholars and the River Cottage team, before being whisked back up the hill by our tractor and trailer with all your dairy handiwork to show off at home.

Please note: This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone and will depend on seasonal availability.

On occasion cookery schools will use equipment that includes induction hobs. It is recommended that people with pace makers should not work on these units. If you are concerned or would like to check whether or not induction hobs will be used on the course you are interested in, please call us on 01297 630302.

Sorry, there are currently no events planned for this course. If you are interested in this course please get in touch and let us know.

Further information...

This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.

We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines available to purchase.

If you need local accommodation we have a full list available.

We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of all our guests.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food Reader Awards 2014
  • The British Cookery School Awards 2014
  • Visit Devon Tourism Awards 2015 Gold