Cheesy Day at a Cheese Making Class in Illinois
Saturday morning started bright and early at 6am when I woke up, got ready, and hopped in the car for a 2-hour drive…I headed off in my black pickle with an empty pickle jar to get to a cheese making class in Caledonia, Illinois. You know you are literally in “boofoo” when all of a sudden the road turns into gravel and when lost while trying to waste a few minutes, driving down a deserted road you pass a small cemetery and almost hit a giant “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign…
On my attempt I totally missed the Angelic Organics, the farm where the cheese making class was being held, because the road sign was only facing in the opposite direction so I didn’t see it. But on my turn around I saw it and found my way there.
Once there we dove right in. Everyone paired up and tackled a cheese. My partner and I worked on feta and ricotta. Ricotta was amazingly simple. We just heated some unpasteurized goat’s milk to a high temperature then added some vinegar. The teacher said that we’d see the reaction really quickly and right away. I poured it in and stirred and it still looked just like foamy milk. But then all of a sudden it just separated and was curds in a clear/yellowy liquid. Amazing. A few more steps later and I customized my lump of it by mixing in some chopped garlic tops. It was delicious!
The feta would have actually taken about eight hours, so we never got to completely finish it…but it was pretty easy all the same. Others in the class made mozzarella and chevre and queso blanco. It was all yummy.
When the cheeses were about done we went outside to milk a goat. It’s harder than it looks.
And goat’s milk tastes like regular milk but was kind of icky to drink right away just because it was warm.
After the class, since I was out that far anyways I decided to take a mini-trip to Rockford for some cheesy sites! The first stop was Midway Village.
Midway Village is one of those old-time towns that shows authentic and replicated buildings of how things were in the past. A dressed-up guy took us around on a tour (by “us” I mean me and a few families and old people). So I saw lots of old-timey buildings and such.
After that I walked through the dollhouse museum and the rest of the museum. The museum housed the real reason for going to this particular attraction: The Sock Monkey Exhibit!!!
This exhibit showcased tons of sock monkeys (knit AND fiberglass) and showed how the town of Rockford and the invention of the seamless sock led to their being. SOCK MONKEYS!
They had a bunch of other weird little exhibits too…including a real airplane!
After the museum I drove off to Lockwood Park. I got out of my car and walked towards to farm area not seeing what I was looking for…but then I saw it…right there in front of me…a 19-foot high COW!!!!
Totally worth a 15-minute detour to see 🙂 And a great ending to a cheesy day!