BEHIND THE BOX - SMOKIN'

The best part of creating curdbox is the curation. Every month we get to take a look at small batch, artisan makers to put together a story in cheese and pairings. The hardest part is keeping it a secret! For our first box we had fun with the theme of smoked foods. Of course, we want to make each box friendly to everyone's preferences so we have to make sure we're finding all different ways to approach the theme.

We started with @NewEnglandCharcuterie Pepperoni which has a great flavor thanks to their quality ingredients. Pepperoni is pretty approachable and is great with everything we paired it with, but we also love it in a pizza grilled cheese!

The @Runamok Pecan Wood Smoked maple syrup was our smokiest element but we picked it because it is so well-balanced with the sweetness. When we aren't pairing this with cheese we're using it as a sweetener, like simple syrup in mixed drinks. TO. DIE. FOR.

And the last of the pairings is something many of our customers are familiar with, @PotlickerKitchen's Raspberry Smoked Maple Jam. The smoked maple is subtle but ties all of our pairings together, and the raspberry is just so darn friendly you want to be BFFs. If you have some in your fridge, make a grilled cheese with cheddar, cut it into triangles in then dip it all hot and gooey into some of this jam.

The @ShelburneFarms 3 Year Cheddar we put in the box is a great cheese to put on above mentioned grilled cheese. It's a perennial favorite at the store. If you like a creamy but sharp cheddar, this will make your mouth happy. And if you've never been to Shelburne Farms in Vermont, we recommend you visiting next year when the Vermont Cheese Festival once again takes place there.

@CobbHill brings us our our smokey aged Gouda called Golden Age. This cheese is smoked in quarter wheels so depending what part of the wheel you get, will determine how smokey it tastes. Because this cheese is aged before smoking, you get a much different profile than you do from what you typically get when you ask for smoked gouda at your local cheese counter or store. This has that hard texture that lets you cut it or chunk it into nuggets and little crystals found throughout. You could easily grate this on top of chili for another delicious layer or cheese and smokey goodness.

And to make it a trifecta we added Reading from @SpringbrookFarms, a delicious, award-winning raclette style cheese that can take whatever you want to pair with it from hot and spicy mustard to sweet and smokey jam. It loves to be melted whether its in a recipe, on a grilled cheese or in a traditional raclette. The flavor is meat and full—nothing wishy washy here.

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Isn't cheese fun?