Teaching and Learning

I have been a trainer, mostly of adults, on and off for some time.  The personal satisfaction I get from teaching is hard to calculate, for me it is about inspiring others to try something new.  It is about the possibility of opening a door,  often that the student didn’t even know existed.  Of course, it is not always that awe inspiring, sometimes it is just something a student has to learn to do their job.

My Cheesemaking classes are about sharing my passion for cooking, which for me is an adventure every day.  Even if I am making the same thing, time after time, the universe seems to conspire to make it different each time.  It is this variation that makes it surprising.

The students from my latest cheesmaking class are a great example of those who come to learn. I am hoping they will continue their adventures (like I am!) with further cheesemaking experiments.


Photos & Text Copyright Sophia Poulos.


It’s Simply Cheese

The way I look at it, teaching cheesemaking classes is contributing in some small way to preserving the old crafts. Skills which in the past would have been generally known, but are now approached with great wonder.  So another group arrives to class with some trepidation, and enthusiasm to see what will happen.

The class is busy, there is a lot to cover in just 5 hours, but with great satisfaction the group have achieved what we hoped for, a beautiful set of cheeses and accompaniments, new skills learned and hopefully enough enthusiasm generated to “have another go” with the recipes at home!



Tough Cheese

I recently watched the movie “The Founder”, the story about Ray Kroc who eventually went on to expand the McDonalds food franchise network.  He talks about Persistence. Nothing will take the place of Persistence.  And so it is with cheesemaking.  At first, we begin, small attempts at cheesemaking, then onto bigger things.  Maybe the Mozzarella won’t stretch, the Ricotta tastes bitter, the Blue Vein refuses to mould properly.  But do not give up, there is magic in the saucepan, brewing wonderful things.

The students at my latest class at St George & Sutherland Community College came and presented themselves for duty. They produced beautiful things, some perhaps not perfect, but nevertheless they came away with great personal satisfaction.


Photos: Sophia Poulos

Cheese and Wine Musings

Cheese and wine, a match made in heaven? I had the pleasure of speaking  about cheesemaking at the Hurstville Wine Club monthly meeting recently.  Damian, Rhonda, Jeff and the team made me feel very welcome and it was great chatting to people who enjoyed tasting different wines and learning something new.

I covered the process of cheesemaking and then talked about wine and cheese pairing.   I recommend a common sense approach which would be used not only with wine but with any food being matched to cheese.  The stronger the cheese flavour, the more robust must be the matching wine (see the table at the end of this article).

I also demonstrated how to make ricotta (see my recipe here) and a sample of warm, freshly made cheese was sampled by the attendees.  It took just 20 minutes to make the cheese from start to finish, and I was fortunate to have help from the audience to stir the curd and spoon it into a basket.


Ricotta cheese making demonstration

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Wine and Cheese Pairings

Types of Cheese Examples Wine Pairing
Fresh Cheese and Soft Cheese Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Ricotta, Mozzarella, Halloumi, Fetta

Brie and Camembert

Crisp whites,

Sparkling wines,

Dry rose and

Light reds

Semi Hard Cheese

Hard Cheese (young)

Edam, Havarti

Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda

Fruity reds,

Medium whites and vintage sparkling wines

Hard Aged Cheese Aged Cheddar, Cheshire Full bodied whites and tannic reds, also

Sweeter fortified wines

Blue Cheese Danish, Roquefort, Stilton Robust wines with sweetness to balance the bold flavours, eg Muscat

Text and photos copyright: Sophia Poulos