At the Fromagination shop, May 9 through July 9

Expand your knowledge of the world of cheese – sign up for a Fromagination class!

We have a reputation for intimate, informal classes on a wide range of topics taught by our cheesemongers and other esteemed experts.

Classes take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at our shop, 12 South Carroll Street, Madison

Register online. space is limited. If you have a gift certificate, please let us know at time of registration.

Process: We invite all students to arrive at 6:30, giving you time to meet your fellow class mates and to get settled in. The classes start at 6:45 and last approximately 45 minutes. This gives participants time to learn about their favorite cheeses and to taste them. Once the lesson over, students will be given 30 minutes to browse the store or discuss cheese further with the cheesemongers and their fellow participants.

Participants must be 21 years old or older.  Participation limited to 16.  Registration is not confirmed until payment is processed.

Class Descriptions

Entertaining with Cheese Series

Tea & Cheese CANCELLED

Thursday May 16th
Teacher: Ian Ellstrom

Come join us, get cozy, and excite your senses with our Cheese and Tea Pairing class!  You will receive a deliciously guided tour through Wisconsin cheese and some of our favorite companions.  Learn to pair seven different styles of cheese from bloomy to blue with a variety of black, green, herbal and other teas!  Combine textures, milk-styles, and flavors to create a one of a kind experience for your palate that you can share with others.

Cheese & Wine

Thursday May 30th
Teacher: Shannon Berry

Cheese and Wine! Perhaps the most common and safest cheese pairing of them all, we’re here to tell you different wines can really accentuate the various flavors of the same cheese. Not all cheese are best paired with a red wine. Different cheeses pair well with different level of tannins. Join us for this special class and we will deconstruct the myths behind cheese and wine pairing and show you how to do it properly.

Cheese & Cocktails

Thursday June 13th
Teacher: Shannon Berry

Time to get a little experimental.  Join us for an exciting class on how to pair cheese and various fruity, sweet, bitter or sour cocktails. Learn how to make the perfect cocktails and which cheeses they can be best paired with. Learn all there is to know about this wonderful pairing and impress your friends throughout the summer with amazing entertaining. Join us for a fun night of cheese and cocktails. What more could you ask for?

Cheese & Crackers

Tuesday June 25th
Teacher: Kyle Richmond

Sometimes the simplest pairing is the best. In this class we will teach you the benefits of pairing cheese with different varieties of bread and crackers. Join us and learn simple tips and tricks on which flavor of cracker or type of bread pair best with your favorite kinds of cheese. Come on down to Fromagination and learn all there is to know about cheese pairings and you will be able to entertain with confidence.

Cheese & Beer

Tuesday July 9th
Teacher: Shannon Berry

What better way to end our entertaining with cheese series that with a nice cold beer? Join us and learn which cheeses and beers pair best together. During this class you will taste all kinds of wonderful locally brewed Ales, IPAs, Stouts and Lagers and learn to pair them with amazing Wisconsin cheeses. This class will focus on precise combinations of beer and cheese that will marvel your senses. Cheers!

Cheese of the World Series

Cheese of the British Isles

Thursday May 9th
Teacher: Greg Upward

For our first class in the Cheese of the World Series, we take across the pond to the British Isles. From the lochs of Scotland to the Cliffs of Dover through the rolling hills of Yorkshire, let us take you on a culinary journey as old as time itself. Enjoy a class full of incredible history and amazing flavor as we sample some of the numerous cheeses that make the British Isles so special.

Welkom in Nederland CANCELLED

Thursday May 23rd
Teacher: Kristi O’Brien

Explore and taste various Old World cheeses such as Beemster, Leerdammer, Leyden, Parrano and Graskaas. Learn cheese origins, for example Edam and Gouda as well as Geit-in-Stad cheese, which translates to “goat-in-the-city”. Taste, learn, enjoy and perhaps pick up a few commonly used phrases, such as “he who has butter on this head should stay out of the sun”.

Dammi Il Formaggio CANCELLED

Thursday June 6th
Teacher: Ken Monteleone

A full flavored tour of Italy.  When you think of Italian cheese, many of the first picks that come to mind are hard, toothsome cheeses. Some of Italy’s most magical cheeses are beautiful softies just begging to be the star of the show. Ken will share his family stories, recipes and adventures in Italy. In this class you will experience the most luscious cheeses Italy has to offer. First stop the Piedmont Region.


Vive le Fromage!

Thursday June 20th
Teacher: Jeff Peterson & Chris Østergaard

Learn all about the traditions in one of the richest cheesemaking regions of the world, France. We will discuss the different types of cheese found in the numerous regions of Framce and explore modern traditions that have been inspired by alpine cheesemaking. We will learn about the features that set these cheeses apart from other types of cheese, and how to incorporate them into your own culinary ambitions.

Queso, por favor!

Tuesday July 2nd
Teacher: Jeff Peterson

Pack your bags and get ready to travel from the Basque country to Andalucia, where we will discover the cheeses produced by the culturally and geographically diverse regions of Spain. In this class we will explore classic pairings for Spanish cheeses and taste some famous and some often overlooked culinary treasures from one of Europe’s most beautiful countries.

Vamos a España!!

Meet the Teachers

Ken Monteleone

Ken Monteleone

Ken is Fromagination’s head cheesemonger, creative director and owner. It is his passion and dedication for over a decade that has made Fromagination an integral part of Madison’s foodie scene. Many local restaurants seeks his and his team’s advice about cheese.

Born in Colorado, Ken moved to Madison in 1993 where he worked as a corporate buyer for over 20 years. After more than two decades working in the corporate world, Ken decided, in 2007, to pursue his true passion: cheese.  Fromagination was born.

Ken hails from a proud Italian family and has remained very close to his European roots. He looks forward to sharing his stories with you all!

Shannon Berry

Shannon Berry

Simply put, Shannon Berry loves food.  Her passion for the gastronomies of the world first led her to Portland, Oregon where she attended culinary school and cooked under the mighty Cathy Whims.  There her affections intensified as she appreciated the heart of Cathy’s food perspective and her devoted team.  Next, she journeyed to New York City and worked at Aquavit, grateful to be a part of the team that won the restaurant its first Michelin star.  Being from the Midwest, she decided to head back to the Heartland and has been cooking in Madison for the past 6 years.  The oldest girl of a family of 15 children, Shannon values how food connects people, something clearly mirrored in the culinary community here in Madison.  She hopes to continue learning and develop skills that will help push Madison towards its culinary potential.

Chris Østergaard

Chris Østergaard

Born and raised in Lyon, the food capital of France, Chris developed a passion for amazing food from a very young age. Food is the pillar of the french culture and has always been central to any and every social event he ever attended. Meals in France will generally last several hours.

It was only fitting therefore for Chris to work in the food industry upon his arrival in the USA. Working primarily as digital marketing executive for Fromagination, Chris has also spent his fair share of time helping the team selling cheese in the store, and getting to know Wisconsin’s rich cheese heritage

Kyle Richmond

Kyle Richmond

Kyle loves cheese, and Kyle loves bread.  Together, they could make up his “desert island food” ration.


Kyle has worked at Fromagination since 2013, since his partner, Ken, asked him to help fix the website.  Now he works in the Fromagination business office…far from the daily contact with cheese that other employees normally enjoy.

With a background in adult education – and having lived in Europe, the Caribbean, and Brazil – Kyle has an appreciation for food of all types.  But he keeps coming back to an attraction for the bread and cheese combinations that he learned to love in the Netherlands at age 14.

Greg Upward

Greg Upward

Greg has been part of the kitchen staff at Fromagination since it opened more than 10 years ago. He was drawn to the shop because of his family legacy in dairy farming.

With an impressive culinary background, and working as a chef for L’Étoile, Greg can be credited for all the amazing sandwiches a catering trays we sell here at Fromagination.

He can only be defined as one of the forces that has shaped Fromagination into what it is today.

Day-to-day, Greg is often answering the phone at the shop, taking orders and making sure other employees get messages.  Especially during the December holidays, we should call him the “Voice Of Fromagination.”

Jeff Peterson

Jeff Peterson

Inspired by the diverse traditions of the world, Jeff Peterson is one of Fromagination’s most experienced and passionate cheesemongers.

Informed by years of participation in a variety of Wisconsin’s artisan cheese traditions, Jeff has a great wealth of knowledge in a variety of fields including agricultural production, cheesemaking, and gastronomy.

Jeff is eager to share his deep passion and vast knowledge of cheese, in the hopes of inspiring as many people as possible!

Kristi O'Brien

Kristi O'Brien

Kristi is one of Fromagination’s most seasoned cheesemongers. Having worked for Fromagination for over a decade, it is safe to say that there is very little about cheese she doesn’t know. Kristi has an extensive background in the culinary industry of Madison, and for many year worked as a chef at L’Etoile on the Capitol Square.

Now on the opposite side of the square, Kristi made the move to front of house, where she thoroughly enjoys interacting with customers and giving them tips on cheese and pairing wherever she can. Kristi is a pillar of the Fromagination’s identity and she conveys her passion and knowledge to customer on a daily basis.

Ian Ellstrom

Ian Ellstrom

Born and raised a Madisonian, Ian has been surrounded by our prominent local food scene. Instead of cartoons, he and his sister would watch cooking shows on weekend mornings.  After attending school at UW-Milwaukee, a bicycle powered farming adventure through Wisconsin and Minnesota re-ignited his passion for foods. He began his career working in the specialty department at Whole Foods Market-Milwaukee as their coffee buyer.

Along the way, he found great pleasure in talking with others about food and helping them choose something for their palate. He soon realized that his favorite foods were fresh from the soil. A two-year journey of working on a Permaculture farm in Alaska as well as a farm in Duluth expanded his knowledge of what makes great food. As a cheesemonger, he strives to bring the vivid aromas of the natural world to one’s table.