I learned a huge amount in a short space of time and feel a new confidence moving forward with my business.

You, as a teacher and group leader, were professional, helpful and patient with my endless list of questions; the arrangements were excellent and your willingness to provide assistance with every possible query was remarkable and hugely appreciated.

Please also pass on my sincere thanks to Laurent for his openness, honesty and good humour over the week; I feel privileged to have had access to his experience, skill and depth of knowledge.

I feel honoured to have been part of the first iteration of The Big Cheese and have no doubt that the course will become an unmitigated success.

Hugh Nicholas
Cheese etc, Australia
The Big Cheese: A Manager's Toolkit

Thank you for the incredible experience that I received last week. I was happy to be on this course. I was very impressed by your approaches and methods to learning. Separately, I would like to highlight the team interaction and the high level of skill with which you come to work.

Mihaylo Vaskovsky
Pro Cheese, Ukraine

Just to say thank you very much for another very educational and interesting course at Academie Mons. I also enjoyed meeting everyone on the course - we were all from different backgrounds but we worked together very well throughout the week! Eric's input made our course even more special!

You and Laurent have put together a very relevant and well-organised series of educational programmes. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of it. I look forward to joining future courses!

Ivy Ng
Hong Kong
Essential Foundations, Affinage

I was worried it might be an experiential 'vacation' vs. a real class. No problem there! Great technical and background info. Good to be around peers with similar challenges. This will help me interpret mold development in caves, and help solidify new cave design.

Jon Gougar
Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

I just wanted to say thanks again for another great program. I experienced Paris in a new way, saw places I'd never see or discover on my own, and learned so much about French cheese and the business and traditions surrounding it. Not to mention, meeting some great people and building community the only way Academie Mons can!

Mary Connolly
Marie Fromage
Cheese in Paris: An Insider’s Tour

Opened my first wheel of Colston Bassett Stilton at the shop yesterday and thought of you and everything I learned in your London course. Still one of the best 4 days and educational experiences I've ever had!!

Agatha Kishchenko
Belle Cheese, Brooklyn, NY
Cheese in London: An Insider's Tour

I learned enough at the end of Day 1 that justfied my investment. The rest was a well received bonus. The entire course was incredibly inspiring.

Jeremy Little
Sweet Grass Dairy
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

The course is incredibly well-organized, detailed & involved. There is a great feeling throughout that everyone is here to help your learning and assist in your advancement in the cheese industry. I will be back for as many programs as I can! Experts & novices alike can learn something from this course!

Malory Lane
The Geography of Cheese
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

This trip to London surpassed my expectations. The four days were packed with being welcomed at cheese retailers, cheesemongers, cheese wholesalers, cheese manufacturers and by restauranteurs all excited to share their love for cheese with us. Sue Sturman put together an outstanding group of cheese related businesses for us to experience.

Mark Edwards
DPI Specialty Foods
Cheese in London: An Insider's Tour

I am big advocate of both courses and of the Academie, as I have found the time spent at Mons quite transformational.

When I returned, we made considerable changes, both minor (tweaks to our systems) and major (a complete redesign of our caves), to the way that we make and age our cheeses. It has now been 10 weeks and we are seeing immediate benefits and significant improvements in the quality of our cheeses.

The class size and teaching format both work exceptionally well and are cognisant of the course cost, both financially and in terms of time out of the business.

I found that the mix of theory, practical and ad hoc insights that the two courses provided was perfect for me and my preferred style of learning.

The coursework was fantastic but I found that there was particular benefit in the time given for reflection. This invariably saw me identifying questions that I didn't realise I had and these were the most transformational.

Kym Masters
Section28 Artisan Cheeses
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

I enjoyed the course with Ivan very much. It exceeded my expectations by far. I went as a beginning hobby cheesemaker with close to zero experience. Now I am researching dairy education programmes with hopes to make cheesemaking my future profession.

Mads-Erik Schiønnemann
Cheesemaking 101 with Ivan Larcher

Thanks to the Academie's education I have cut cheese losses in affinage, put out a new washed cheese, and I have much nicer rinds on my hard cheeses, with nice burgundy spots. I have been studying French 20 min a day and I have had a bunch of new opportunities pop up. Thanks again for the life changing experience.

Ryan Randell
Old Chatham Sheepherding Company
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

An Insider's Tour is much more than a "Gastronomic Tour" of a region or country, it is education designed for a cheese professional. The experience of ​​the Insider's Tour gave me the opportunity to see places I would not otherwise be able to get into and learn firsthand aspects of cheesemongering, affinage, pairings, culinary, marketing and merchandising. I have met passionate, knowledgeable students, cheesemongers, cheesemakers and colleagues in the industry who share a common interest and through our discussions I have learned from them in order to develop my career in educating, selling and promoting in the cheese industry.

​​The Insider's Tour agendas are well thought through, planned and executed. The value of the trip is exceptional when you consider that an average travel planner could not arrange for you to visit some of the people or locations that Sue is able to get into with her connections. You are treated like a VIP with access to "Inside" areas of a cheese maker, cheese shop, affinage setting and are treated to special food and pairing events with esteemed authors, restauranteurs, educators and professionals in the industry. I can't say enough accolades about the tours.

Sheri Allen ACS CCP®
Owner - Artisinal Touch Events
Insider's Tours of New York, Paris, and London

"It’s been a brilliant and life-changing two weeks. The people were as fantastic as the content. I’m not silly enough to believe that passion is either a necessary or sufficient condition: all of the people I met work very hard. But there is a real intimacy and willingness to share and connect. It was a magnificent experience that I highly recommend to anyone with even a remote interest in cheese."

Jonathan Deitch
M. Fromage blog
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

"​​​If you are a serious cheesemaker, you will want to work with Ivan somewhere along the way. He is extraordinarily knowledgeable, for sure, but the thing that sets Ivan apart is that he is an outstanding teacher. For me, he made difficult concepts that had eluded me for years suddenly fall into place. Every time I work with him, my cheese noticeably improves. If you really want to deeply understand the whys and hows of cheesemaking in order to better control the process and make the most of your milk, there is no one better."

Rebecca Williams
Many Fold Farm
Professional Cheesemaking (101) with Ivan Larcher

"​​​It does not get any better than this course. I have studied elsewhere, but the class at Mons is a different level. I cannot recommend it enthusiastically enough. It changed the way I make cheese; I feel like I have real knowledge, not just guesswork and assumptions. It is a fantastic blend of theoretical and applied/hands-on work. I hardly discard cheese due to poor rind formation anymore. If you are a serious cheesemaker and you want fewer losses in your business and a better quality product, it is worth every penny."

Rebecca Williams
Many Fold Farm
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

"Outstanding 4 days of hands on and classroom discussion which allow you to think about all aspects of cheese from farm to table - evaluate, care, and sell. This class covers everything a cheese monger needs to be successful."

Bill Feldman
Whole Foods
The Life of Cheese in Four Days (at Jasper Hill Farm)

"I feel much more confident in prepping for the CCP exam. I plan on taking a class from this educator yearly or bi-yearly at least."

"Highlights of the program for me were working in the cheese plant, and sensory analysis - it helped me to 'not be afraid' of sharing my opinion. The course was well balanced, I loved that the class work and hands-on portions reinforced each other. I don't know what you could add, our time was filled well and covered so many great things. Now that I've taken the course, I believe I will be able to help my company and customers to do better, and to educate them at a higher level. This really helped my confidence in cheese."

Tara Sabatini
Swiss-American Inc.
Cheese: From Pasture to Plate (at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese)

"Sue & Laurent were the best professors I've had. Not only great chemistry and expert knowledge, they presented the materials in a format that was understandable and engaging. Definitely not boring! I've learned so much. Each lesson or activity had its place. It was really well balanced. Perhaps highlight for me was meeting cheese industry folks and creating relationships that I can now foster."

Sarah Powers
Table no. 1, Nantucket
Cheese: From Pasture to Plate (at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese)

“My focus has been on business development and trying to get my CFIA license which will open the doors to distribution in the rest of Canada, and to business opportunities for expansion.

I'm putting my MONS learning experience to good use here and it has helped me formulate ideas for my next two cheeses. One of my great joys from the course was the opportunity to make cheese for two days with ​Marie-Agnes Plagne of La Ferme Plagne in the Auvergne​. In my view she is making the perfect cheese and I want to try and make a Fourme here!!

Also working in your aging rooms gave me a lot of insight into different affinage approaches. I am now thinking that I can make a non-blue washed rind and age it in with my blues without crossover of the moulds... anyway that​​'s what I am going to try.”

​Lyndell Findlay
Blue Harbour Cheese
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

“We have certainly missed y'all this week. We truly enjoyed each and every day that we spent with you and your staff. We felt so welcomed from the moment that we arrived.

The Mons Family is clearly made up of an amazing group of people and we are so honored that we had the opportunity to be a part of it for the last 2 weeks. I think that we learned something from each and every person. Merci Beaucoup!!

We came to Academie Opus Caseus to learn about French cheese. We left with not only knowledge, but also a true understanding, and invaluable experiences. We are so impressed by your system of organization and your attention to details. We equate "Mons" with perfection.

There are truly no words to express our gratitude for this opportunity. You truly went above and beyond our expectations. Learning from you was truly an honor. Please know that you are welcome in New Orleans any time.”

Haley Acquistapace
Acquistapace's Covington Market
Covington, Louisiana
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

“I often refer back to my notes from our course in Vermont. There was so much valuable information regarding production, affinage, sensory analysis and more that I find myself going back to review often. The course that 'keeps on giving.'”

Brent Delman
The Kosher Cheese Guy
Yonkers, NY
The Life of Cheese in Four Days (at Jasper Hill Farm)

“Wherever you are in your cheese journey, for me the decision making process for these courses is pretty simple... The question really is 'am I going to get value for money from this course?' The course is expensive. But where else are you going to get that knowledge? I just don't think it exists elsewhere. So that is what it costs. On the upside I was very happy that I didn't have to open my wallet during the two weeks I was there. Even though not all meals were not included there was more than enough food. As well as the training, you are provided with a lovely French holiday experience, and when that is factored into the course cost it becomes quite reasonable. So for me there was value for money”

Paul Wilson
Nimbin Valley Dairy
Nimbin, NSW, Australia
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

“As an aspiring cheesemonger and entrepreneur, I had a lot of difficulty sourcing the type of in-depth education I required. This course seemed as though it was tailor-made to suit my needs and did not disappoint! It was very well organized, thorough and enjoyable. My knowledge base grew vastly and exponentially.

My collection of powerpoints and printouts will be my most valuable asset in my 'cheese library'! The farm visit was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed the daily sensory analysis and found it extremely helpful.

I now feel I am better equipped to do research on my own, get more from the books I own and can formulate a plan to further my education and refine my business plan.

Thank you so much, Sue & Laurent! I can't tell you how much this program has meant to me. Thank you for all the fun, laughter and your generosity with time. I'm very proud to call you my teachers, mentors and friends.”

Courtney Dhaliwal
Planning a new cheese shop, The Cheesemongers, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals


“I wanted to let you both know how well regarded the Academie's course was at ACS. Whenever making a new introduction, I needed only state that I was an alumnus and I had people's immediate attention. The response was always something along the lines of 'Wow, you're so lucky; I've been dying to take that course' or 'Wow! You're really serious about your new business then.' I think my favourite response came from someone who said, 'Good for you! I hear that course takes you from being a total nobody and turns you into a somebody.'

I know it's always nice to hear how wonderful people think you are! You know how wonderful I, personally think you both are and how much I've truly appreciated learning from such dedicated teachers."


“This fall I had the unique opportunity to travel to England and France to complete a series of courses in professional cheesemaking and affinage. These courses were through The School of Artisan Food on the Welbeck Estate in Nottinghamshire England, and The Academie Opus Caseus in Saint-Haon France. In England, I crafted a few cheeses under the guidance of Ivan Larcher, cheesemaker and consultant extraordinaire, and brought them with me to France, to mature them under the guidance of the professionals at the MonS Fromager-Affineur caves. It is truly extraordinary to watch a cheese go from milk to mold formation in a few short weeks. In trades like cheesemaking and affinage, doing hands on work is the best way to truly absorb and understand the craft, which made this project invaluable to me.”

Gillian Marino
Meadowood Farms
Cazenovia, NY
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese

“The Affinage course surpassed my expectations. The highlights of the program were the hands-on work, the wonderful meals, and the supportive and wonderful instructors. The balance of time worked well for me: I learn better by listening, looking, and writing...all day classes would have been boring! The handouts will make good reference material.”

Lois Reichert
Owner & cheesemaker
Reichert's Dairy-Air
Affinage: The Art and Science of Maturing Cheese


“I wanted to report that I put in the uv water treatment system Laurent and the microbiologist suggested for my blue mold problem and it FIXED it!!! I am ecstatic and so grateful for the suggestion.

Also, some more feedback now that I am back to making cheese. I am amazed at how much more confidence I have now making decisions about what environment each cheese needs to be in, partly from all the hands on experience with Natalina, and also because I now have a thorough understanding of how to use the different environments. My cheeses are better than ever! I am SO SO glad I took this class!

I am experimenting with a langres style cheese as we speak! Tell everyone hello and thank you again for all your great care of us while we were there.”


“This trip to France gave me a new perspective. The 4 days that the Academie schooled me made me better, and more rounded, as the owner of a cheese shop. I soaked up the experience and there are things that I've changed since I got back.

I've been to the aging rooms in Wisconsin, Vermont and even in Italy. But in France it is very special. I really loved hearing the history. Seeing the variety of cheeses, soft and bloomy, hard and semi-hard. Knowing they are being watched. Tasting. Learning new verbiage to describe the smells, colors and taste of cheese.

Being involved in cheese is a passion fueled by knowledge and understanding. The smell of the caves. The taste of the forbidden. The French cheese story may be changing but it is as strong as it gets.”

Kathleen Riegler
Owner, The Cheese Lady
Muskegon, Michigan
Custom Program

“The balance of time is what sets Essential Foundations apart from other educational opportunities. While the classroom is important, spending time at the goat farm and with the Mons staff immersed us in real work and taught me skills I've already applied in my career.

As a relative newcomer to the cheese business, daily concentration on sensory analysis was paramount. In cheese making, an improved sensory vocabulary will help me track subtle changes in my cheese and effectively communicate specific characteristics to prospective customers. As a cheesemonger, I'm now in a better position to familiarize myself with a wide range of products and sell with more confidence.

The accommodations were perfect. Saint-Haon-le-Châtel is a beautiful town and it was convenient being so close to school.”

Kevin Palmaccio,
Fairfield Cheese Company
Fairfield, CT, USA
US Export Sales Assistant, Mons Fromager - Affineur
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

“The time I spent at the Academie Opus Caseus at Mons was very valuable as I prepared for the ACS Certification exam. I discovered, through the benchmarks they provided, just where I needed to concentrate my study efforts.

The time I spent with the local cheese producer was great, mostly because it was specifically geared to be an instruction on what each step of the cheese-making process was and what happened physically and chemically in those steps. That was really valuable to me as it's easier to really learn that practically vs from a book.

Also I enjoyed the hands-on work wrapping and cutting cheese, and I wished my French was better so that I could have taken the opportunity to work behind the counter. Now that the program is offered in English as well, I'm sure that the opportunities to learn have expanded exponentially. The structure of the program is a great way to use live application of the classification and category info we studied, and the hands-on aspect of the program sets this school apart from any other school.”

Sarah Wehling
ACS Certified Cheese Professional
Garde et Juré, Guilde Internationale des Fromagers
Assistant General Merchandise Manager - Foods and Sundries
Costco Wholesale
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

“Taking Academie Opus Caseus was a wonderful immersion in cheese that both deepened my knowledge and raised my respect for French cheese. The course is a great way to prepare for the ACS Certification Exam. Laurent explains cheese from pasture and animal to milk and differences in make process very logically, while working in the aging caves and tunnel for practical experience brings it all together! Fabulous day at the goat farm/cheesemaking facility and well tutored daily tasting sessions. Saint-Haon-le-Châtel is a wonderful setting, rich in the history of France. What a well rounded, practical and memorable experience! Thank you Laurent and Susan.”

Kathy Guidi
Cheese Sommelier and Consultant
Founder - Cheese Education Guild
Author - Canadian Cheese: A Pocket Guide
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals

“For me, the training allowed me to master the various families of cheese, understand how they are made, and how to taste and talk about them. From a practical point of view, I learned how to set a cheese case to show the products to their best advantage, how to cut and wrap a wide variety of products, the basics of various affinage techniques, how to assemble and prepare an order for shipment.

Dynamic, convivial, and highly professional, Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals is indispensible for mastering the universe of dairy products. For me, it was also an opportunity to encounter other colleagues from the cheese sector, to exchange and enrich my connections.

Laurent Mons & Sue Sturman are passionate about their métier, always with humor, conviviality, high spirits, and a very pleasant ambiance”

Pierre Rasse
Consultant en PME agroalimentaires
Essential Foundations for Cheese Professionals