Patrick is a thoughtful, understanding teacher. His lovely space accommodated our group in style. He took the time to explain all aspects of the cheese making process and answer our questions before we began.
Our group was small enough to receive individual attention, which meant we were shown how and when to stir, what a clean break looks like and the importance of curd size and how to fill hoops.... little things you never get from big cheese making workshops. This made all the difference to my understanding and has improved my results.
The True Blue workshop was held 6 weeks before Xmas.... so we'll be having some great cheese on the cheese platter this year.
Where do I start? I spent weeks searching the internet for an Australian live-in cooking experience to celebrate 30 years of marriage, and found virtually nothing that suited what I was looking for (plenty of cooking classes and one bring-your-own-minimum-of-10-group option, but that was all). I was beginning to think I was searching using the wrong terms, when I hit on the idea of searching for specific food courses, like cheese and sausage making. "Cooking course" was clearly too general. Through this process I found Stroudover Cottage and brilliant chef Patrick. His advertised options on the website suited us in part, but I wanted to know if we could combine a few things and cook particular things.
What's great about Patrick's offerings is the minimum is just two people at a very reasonable rate including expert tuition and guidance and onsite accommodation. Patrick is old-school at heart and decided to call me directly to discuss options. I remember him saying "we can do anything at Stroudover Cottage" (during our 45-minute conversation), and so I put him to the test. We decided to combine a two-day cooking course with a fresh cheese-making day and planned to stay 3 nights. On top of that, Patrick asked what we'd like to learn, so 4 of us (we roped in 2 friends) each supplied culinary areas that included: sous vide, pastry-making, pickles, sauces (that was just me), Thermomix, vegetarian, soups and pies. No way did we think he'd cover all these things, but he did (and more).
A few days before leaving home, one of our 4 informed us that, for medical reasons, she had to go dairy and gluten free, which, of course, I passed on to Patrick. Although our cooking days had already been well planned out, Patrick managed to change things around to cater for my friend's change of diet.
We arrived at Stroudover Cottage (after a few days R&R on the South Coast) with me having contracted the flu and the other three showing symptoms. We struggled through day one but fell, one by one, and by morning day two we were all bed-ridden. I contacted Patrick to cancel the rest of the cooking course and the cheesemaking day, but he kindly offered us time to recuperate at Stroudover Cottage so we could finish both things. We stayed two extra nights, and Patrick generously made time for us despite having now picked up the flu.
Stroudover Cottage itself has everything you need, is modern and very well-maintained. The location is stunning with open land around and hills in the distance. Bega and Merimbula aren't far away and we went back to Sydney via Cooma which is a great drive.
The area provides lots of local produce that Patrick makes use of when in season. Patrick makes all types of cheeses and small goods, some of which can be found in the fridge upon arrival. We had bacon, blue cheese, home-made sausages and fresh bread, all part of the Stroudover experience.
The cooking course was full-on but very rewarding and instructive. For day two, Patrick reverted to demonstration mode due to our health and we managed to complete everything in his program.
To say Patrick was accommodating would be an understatement. He went well beyond the call of duty and was much more flexible than you would expect from a host. We plan to return in good health and take up the option of Patrick cooking a dinner for us and some friends.
I booked the truffle degustation as a surprise for my husbands 30th birthday. Everything about the Stroudover experience was sensational. The cottage is beautiful and it takes no time at all to settle in and feel right at home. The food was nothing short of exceptional. All of the little details have been considered. It was beautiful, theatrical and downright delicious. Patrick and Heike are wonderful hosts and strike the perfect balance between being attentive without being overbearing. It was an indulgent break that we will never forget and look forward to doing all over again in the not too distant future. We couldn't recommend the Stroudover cottage experience more highly.
We discovered this exceptional experience through word of mouth, which as we all know is one of the best way to find perfection.
I call it an experience rather than a "farm stay" or "accomodation" because that is what you come here for.
Patrick is an exceptionally talented and experienced chef who is generous with his knowledge. So far we have been for cheese, small goods and signature dishes courses. All have been packed with information and fun. We have learnt so much.
If you want to lean in a fun and relaxing atmosphere or if you want a romantic weekend away or just come down with some friends for a rest in the country this is the place for you.
Very relaxing place to stay with all amenities that you need included. The cooking classes and cheese and sausage making workshops with Patrick are wonderful and extremely informative. Patrick ensures that the classes are fun and friendly. What better way to end a relaxing weekend than eating good food that you have prepared in such a great environment. Can't wait to go again.