For a turophile (cheese fancier) like myself, this is the kind of thing I like to do on a Friday night.

A cheese cookery course at Sophie’s Cookery School in Oxford, and the only one currently programmed in the calendar. If I missed this one I would be gutted.

What is unique about these pop up cookery courses is you are taken to different venues associated with the dishes you cook, making it a truly immersive experience.

I made it to the Jericho Cheese Company on Little Clarendon Street out of breath but with impeccable timing, arriving just as Adam Verlander who owns the cheese shop and was providing the venue for the evening, took us through a selection of cheeses – Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire, Hafod, Stichelton and Rollright – all British which looked, smelt and tasted wonderful.

When someone has words such as ‘organoleptic’ rolling off their tongue, you know you’re in the hands of someone who knows their stuff. Adam spoke passionately about each cheese providing some fascinating insights into each one. We’re talking terroir, pasteurisation and traditional methods of producing the curd.

We then changed our attention to the three dishes that Sophie had selected for us to cook that evening. I was salivating at the prospect of eating three cheese courses in one go!

We started off with Aligot, a dish from the Aubrac (Aveyron) region of France. It turned out to be a sort of cheesy mashed potato that stretches into long strings when served onto your plate.

This was followed by gnocchi alla Romana with Stilchelton and spinach. For this we had to cut out round discs of gnocchi mix, layer them on a bed of spinach and then crumble on a good helping of Stichelton with some walnuts for crunch.

Finally we ended with Sinodun Hill goats cheese with cherries and orange fennel honey.

Not as much preparation but just as delicious. By the end of the evening I felt slightly weighed down having eaten so much cheese. I needed something like a decent digestif to round it all off. A sure fire winner for a dinner party then although I wouldn’t serve all three dishes in one go.

It was a fun evening with a great bunch of people and expert guidance from Sophie and her team. So I will eagerly look out for the next cheese course although some of Sophie’s other offerings look just as tempting such as the bangers and beer, and lemongrass, lime and chilli classes. (

It’s a much more relaxed way to learn a bit of cooking and makes it accessible to those less sure about cooking but who still love their food.

And for those still in the dark, organoleptic is an adjective meaning acting on, or involving the use of the sense organs, and as such totally appropriate in this instance.