Foodie,  Orlando,  Reviews

Curd Your Enthusiasm

Do you find the title of this post totally cheesy?  Well…I am always trying to find a whey to make a Gouda pun.

Somewhere Momica is groaning…

I have to admit that my wordsmithing is going to be stronger than the scent of Limburger cheese as I write about the “Calling All Cheese Lovers:  A Course on Curds” class I took at Leu Gardens.  Not only is cheese one of my favorite foods on the planet, but it’s also a preferred way to speak.  Just keepin’ it cheesy, yo.

Before our class, Nicole and I met up early at the gardens to walk the beautiful grounds and catch up on life.  The timing was just right as the Florida sun hadn’t gone into full Hades-mode.  It was maybe…at a quarter of Hades.  Just hot enough where I regretted the decision to NOT wear shorts.  Sigh…

Please note that the flowers and caterpillars were gracious and said “cheese” as their photos were taken.

Along the way, we started to notice the cutest little doors on some of the trees.  We had stumbled upon an exhibit called Enchanted Fairy Doors.  Approximately 15 fairies have taken up residence at Leu Gardens until late September.  I am familiar with Tiny Houses, but the Tiny Door movement is something I can definitely get behind.  Seriously…how cute are these doors???!!!

We discovered about half of the fairy doors during our walk but quickly needed to make our way to the Idea Garden for our class.  Cheese waits for no one (actually a few classmates were late, so that’s a lie).

Idea Garden
Walking up to the Idea Garden.  It’s a great idea to take a class here.
Idea Garden 3
Behind door #1 and #2 was a plethora of cheese.  Yum!

We were greeted by Jennifer Hostetter, a local chef, and caterer, whose passion for food provided a fun and informative atmosphere.  During the two and a half session, she made fresh goat cheese and mozzarella.  As she made the fresh cheese, she plied us with delicious cheesy goodness from gruyere biscuits to freshly made mascarpone with blackberry balsamic reduction to a Mediterranean yogurt cheese called Labneh which I loved-uh.

Soft, creamy mascarpone cheese with blackberry balsamic reduction and fresh basil.

I did get some hands-on time during the class.  From start to finish, I made a ball of mozzarella cheese.  The cheese-making itself wasn’t hard, but I will leave it to the professionals (even though the stretching of the cheese was super duper fun).

Mozzarella 1
You can see the curds and whey of my mozzarella cheese starting to separate in the pot. And yes…I went for the sophomoric “It’s time to cut the cheese” joke in the class.  I will forever be 13-years-old.

I even got to try the mozzarella cheese I made as part of a salad with peaches, arugula, and herb vinaigrette.  As the Barefoot Contessa would say, “How fun is that?!”

Mozzarella Peach Salad
My two hands made that cheese.  My right hand took that fork and got all of that salad into my face.  I can make and cut the cheese like a champ. (Yep…I went there.)

We closed out the class with tips to make a cheeseboard.  Cheeseboards are entirely by preference, but it is recommended to include a hard, soft, and semi-hard cheese with a mix of sweet and tart accompaniments.  Does anyone else enjoy making small boards for dinner?

Cheese Board
Chef Jennifer made a cherry bourbon jam that is my jam.  Or…at least it will be.  I need to email her for all of the recipes from the day’s class.  Mmm…

Before bidding adieu, Jennifer gave us one more treat.  (Doesn’t she sound absolutely awesome?  She is!)  She made lemon rosemary shortbread cookies with a mascarpone filling.  OMG.  Just OMG.  I need to make them when I have friends and family in town.

The classes and special events I’ve experienced at Leu Gardens have been informative and entertaining.  I need to figure out what I want to experience there next (besides seeking out all of the fairy doors I missed during our walk).

Have you taken a cooking class or demonstration?  If you have, which ones have you liked or recommend trying?  Do you love cheese?  Do you love cheesy puns?  Let me know in the comments below!

Work Hard.  Play Hard.  Drink Chard.


P.S. Is anyone else curious as to how many times Momica groaned as she read this post?


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