Affinage: The Art and Science of Aging Cheese

All affinage does is make strong stinky cheese that'll make me sick, right? Absolutely NOT! Almost all cheese is aged, and affinage is what brings cheese to its full flavor without meaningful health risks. After a week in the affinage caves at Mons with the Academie Opus Casues, I have a deep appreciation of its importance and the mastery required. 

Day 5: Sourcing, the Tunnel, and Au Revoir

The morning of Day 5 again focused on retail and the sourcing of cheese for a store. We built on our conversation of consumer preferences from Thursday to talk about the supply chain, which is one of the aspects of the cheese industry that interests me most. But this was our last session, after which went to the Mons affinage cave in the train tunnel at Collonges for our final tasting and lunch.

Day 2: Science!

I have managed to eat a lot of cheese over the past two years, which in turn has allowed me to become fairly familiar with French cheeses for a non-professional. But if there’s one area where I’m really at sea, it’s the science of cheese-making. With Tuesday’s session, I took a major step forward in my knowledge.

Les Halles & Our First Meeting

Les Halles is upscale market for sure. Whereas my local market is a single floor whose state of cleanliness very much depends on the hour of the day, Les Halles is three floors. The public floor was pristine and could have easily been mistaken for a food court in a high-end mall. I arrived there at 10:45 to meet the group and enjoy a first taste of the week. 

An Early Train

I love every part of traveling, including packing and waking up for early departures. It therefore wasn’t too much of a chore to prepare my things and make my way via metro to Gare de Lyon for an early-ish train south for my first week of training.