By Kristy Locklin
Although it doesn’t directly say it on her diploma, Elise Miranda majored in cheese-making.
A graduate of Chatham University’s Master of Arts in Food Studies program, she put a lot of time and effort into understanding the versasitle snack. Now she’s teaching others how to make it at Threadbare Cider House & Meadery in Spring Hill. (Meredith Meyer Grelli, the company’s Big Cheese, was also one of her professors at Chatham!)
Miranda serves as program director and part-time chef at Wigle Whiskey’s apple-centric sister company, where she offers three cheese-crafting courses each month. From ricotta to cider-washed curds, there’s a wheel or wedge to suit everyone’s tastes. Check the website for upcoming dates and details, https://threadbarecider.com
In addition to the fancy fromage they make and take, attendees also receive a glass of cider, snacks and a mini-tour of Threadbare. Each two-hour class is $40 per person, which isn’t a lot of cheddar. There’s room for up to 12 students of all ages and skill levels. I’m a middle-aged woman who barely knows her way around a stove and I had fun.
When I visited the facility, the cheese of choice was Halloumi. Similar to mozzarella in color and consistency, this chewy chunk of deliciousness has a high melting point, so it’s perfect for grilling season.
I don’t do much grilling or cooking or baking, but I respect people who know how to do all of these things well. Elise Miranda is one of those people.
Kind and informative with infinite reserves of patience, she guided me, my 9-year-old daughter and my girlfriend through the entire process. Even when the milk overheated and I spilled whey on my shirt and I cracked my plastic container (twice) while packing my Halloumi, she made me feel like I was the star pupil.
I did (slightly) better making the other course menu item: brown sugar-and-whey biscuits. Mine were way ugly, but edible. In fact, they were so tasty I had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I might even try to make them on my own.
I owe this boost in culinary confidence to my teacher. I’d buy her a nice, shiny apple, but hoisting a glass of cider in her honor seems more appropriate.