Charlie’s making cheese … and you’re invited!
Charlie Cascio is known around these parts as “Cheesemaker Charlie,” or “The Cheese Guy.” Both of these nicknames are fitting, for sure, but they don’t tell the full story. Charlie is a master craftsman, an artisan who learned how to make cheese after more than a decade spent living and cooking in Europe—for a time, he was even the private chef for Belgian royals. (Yes, really.)
Today, he crafts his legendary cheeses at our in-house Creamery at The Ranch, using milk from his beloved Swiss Saanen dairy goats to create a transcendent, transformative experience.
And in spring 2020, with his “From Milk to Magic” cheesemaker workshops, Charlie will invite cheese lovers to go beyond the tasting, to venture behind the scenes for a deeper dive into the process of making the cheeses that have long been renowned by local chefs and area foodies.
To book any of the following workshops, please call 866-348-8831.
All packages require two-night minimum stay; based on room availability and Charlie’s schedule. Packages cannot be booked fewer than 7 days in advance.
Grazing with Goats & Cheese-Making
This two-day experience takes you through the entire cheese-making process, from grazing and milking goats to transforming their milk into pure deliciousness.
Begin by taking your shepherd’s crook in hand and hiking up to the hilltop corral with the herd. There, you’ll be part of an ancient tradition as you watch the goats graze—farmers have been relying on these creatures for more than 10,000 years! Of course, you can meet a few of them, and also learn about why the Saanen breed is Charlie’s favorite.
As you return to the barn after your hike, join us at the milking parlor and see goat milking in action.
The following day, after a delightful breakfast in The Market, you’ll head over to the cheese creamery to meet up with Charlie for an expert course in creating your own cheese.
Package cost: Best available room rate for two nights, plus $1,000 experience fee for up to two adults and two kids ages 16+. Includes breakfast in The Market, shepherd’s crook, and beret.
Don’t have your own goats in the back yard? (It’s OK. Not many people do.) You can still create cheese using milk from cows, and Charlie will show you how to do it. Choose from a two-hour workshop for fresh cheese, or a four-hour workshop for aged cheese. Either way, you’re in for a treat—because not only will you receive cheese to take home, you’ll have the know-how to make it yourself!
Two-hour fresh cheese workshop package cost: Best available room rate for two nights, plus $350 per person. Minimum age 16. Includes a small block of fresh cheese.
Four-hour aged cheese workshop package cost: Best available room rate for two nights, plus $500 per person. Minimum age 16. Includes a small block of aged cheese.
Professional Artisan Cheese-Making
There’s learning how to make cheese, and there’s learning how to become a cheesemaker. This three-day experience is for those seeking to take the first step toward becoming artisans themselves, to gain more knowledge about how Charlie does what he does. It features hands-on instruction in all aspects of making fresh, aged, and brined cheeses, including the science involved.
• Day 1: An afternoon lecture by Charlie about the science and production of cheese; in the evening, learn about curd-making technique in preparation for cheese-making the next day.
• Day 2: Discover how to make fresh cheeses from the curd. Afterward, enjoy lunch in Valley Kitchen. In the afternoon, learn to make brined or pickled cheeses.
• Day 3: Learn how to make hard cheeses.
Package cost: Best available rate for two nights, plus $2,000 experience fee for up to two adults and two kids ages 16+. Includes breakfast on Day 2 and 3, and lunch on Day 2.