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Cheese Making at Home

Join us at River Cottage HQ for a perfect introduction to cheese-making. With expert tuition you'll learn how to produce three different cheeses and gain the confidence to make your own cheeses at home.

Learn the basics of cheese making with Marcus Ferguson, an award-winning cheesemaker from Feltham’s Farm. Marcus first learned to make cheese here at River Cottage and has gone on to win Best British Cheese at the Virtual Cheese Awards in 2020 and 2021. Marcus now returns as our Cheese Tutor to share his wealth of knowledge so that you can learn to make your own cheeses.

Marcus will guide you through the process of how cheese is made and provide you with the necessary skills and confidence. Over the course of the day, you’ll make three different types of cheese - a Caerphilly, Camembert and Ricotta - which you will take home with you to mature. He will also share his tips on how to adapt common household items for cheesemaking, rather than buying expensive specialist equipment.

Cheesemaking consists of moments of high activity and times when you must wait as the milk transforms. Marcus will fill these periods with a brief explanation of the science of cheese making, when milk takes its “leap towards immortality”.

Your day will conclude with a cheese tasting of some typical and less common British cheeses before you head up the hill with your creations and instructions on how to mature them and how to repeat (and customise) the recipes yourself. Do remember to bring some Tupperware and a cool box to carry your cheeses home!


• Learn the basic science behind cheese making

• Make three different styles of cheese, Camembert, Caerphilly and Ricotta, to mature and enjoy at home

• Find out how to make cheese at home, using kitchen equipment and household items that you probably already have

• Discover how to taste cheese like a professional

Your day

10:00 - 17.00

  • Arrive at River Cottage

    You’ll begin your River Cottage experience with a 10-15 minute walk through the pathways down to the farm, enabling you to really soak up the views of the valley.

  • Make yourself at home

    You will meet your host and start the day with tea, coffee and a cheesy treat fresh from the kitchen.

  • Session One

    There will be no hanging around. The first thing you’ll do is to start making your first cheese: Camembert, a mould-ripened cheese particularly suitable for making at home.

  • Session Two

    Learn the basics of the science of cheesemaking. Don’t worry, on this course we won’t get overly technical but it is useful to understand the basics.

  • Lunch

    Tuck into a delicious lunch, prepared by our chefs and themed, naturally, around cheese.

  • Session Three

    Next, you’ll start work on your second cheese: Caerphilly, a hard cheese that matures in as little as two weeks.

  • Session Four

    Your third cheese is Ricotta, which you’ll make from the whey left over from making the Caerphilly.

    Marcus will also show you how to make one of the simplest cheeses of all, the Middle Eastern strained yoghurt cheese called Labneh, which you can easily replicate at home (but won’t be taking home with you on this occasion).

  • Session Five

    You’ll finish making your Camembert and Caerphilly and can proudly say you’ve made three different cheeses in one day!

    There will be a short discussion on how you can personalise/customise your cheeses by simple rind washing and changing the cultures you use.

  • Session Six

    Discover how to taste cheese like a professional - You’ll be taught how to taste and appraise cheese, rather than just wolfing it down.

  • Departure

    Head up to the car park for 5pm with your three cheeses in hand.

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.

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All prices include VAT.

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.

Stay in our famous Farmhouse, click here. For other local accommodation click here.

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

We’re afraid this course isn't suitable for vegans or those with dairy allergies

With many of our courses there are often treats and leftovers to take away with you. In our quest to be more sustainable we are encouraging guests to bring their own containers and bags to transport their produce home. Details of what is required for each course will be included in booking emails.

  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • Food and Travel Magazine 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2017
  • Great British Food Awards 2018