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Studying Virtual Academy of Cheese Level 1 - Week 3 Review

Studying with the Virtual Academy of Cheese Level 3

Our ecommerce manager, Jen is studying for Academy of Cheese Level 1 on one of our virtual courses. Read on for her experience of the Academy of Cheese Level 1 course...


Virtual Academy of Cheese - Week 3

I was very happy to see the cheeses this week – all ones that I was really looking forward to tasting - Brillat Savarin, Applebys Cheshire, Pecorino Sardo and Paxton & Whitfield Stilton.

I have found that half of the cheese provided each week is sufficient to taste on the evenings, so my husband has been happy to enjoy the other half as his reward for taking care of dishwasher duties and the childrens' bedtimes while I study! 

Our homework from last week was to find a drinks pairing for one of the cheeses. I decided to step away from the obvious cheese matches to try out a Gin & Tonic. My Isle of Harris G&T has fresh, sweet and citrus notes which I thought would potentially balance out the rich, creamy Stilton and complement the fresh and zesty flavours of Applebys Cheshire. We learnt more about how to go about drinks parings, and it was interesting to see what others had brought to try – including a few homebrews. Several of the class participants had already done the Wine & Spirit Education Trust course and were very knowledgeable on the best wines to try.


There was an interesting discussion about ‘use-by’ and ‘best-before’ and how to know when cheese is under or over-ripe. Hero also talked passionately about food waste and steps that cheesemakers are taking to protect against some of the negative environment impact associated with the industry.

After a whistle-stop history of cheesemaking (did you know the first evidence of cheesemaking was using sheeps’ milk?), our final session came to an end and we discussed the next steps for the exam and getting our Academy of Cheese Level 1 badge!

Hero & Dan stressed that we need to take time to read through the content on the Academy of Cheese 'Learning Road' and to go through our delegate packs and notes again. There are 25 cheeses to learn about on course 1, so we can go out and taste the ones that we haven’t tried if we want to buy them – however this isn’t strictly necessary as full learning notes are provided. When we feel ready, we can log-on to the Academy of Cheese website and take the online exam. It's recommended that we take the exam within one month of studying the course, but we have up to 12 months to take it if we need longer for any reason. There are 30 multiple choice questions to answer in 30 minutes… wish me luck!

Pending exam aside, I’m really pleased that I took part in the Level 1 course. Personally for me, it’ll help me with my daily work and I feel more confident in my cheese knowledge. I can see how it would be a useful course for anyone in the food industry and also just a really enjoyable course for cheese lovers – Hero & Dan explained that it’s also a definite stand-out on the CV for them when they are recruiting.   


If you would like to study with the Academy of Cheese, browse our latest course availability and read our FAQs about this professionally recognised cheese qualification.