Cheers! | December 2020 curdbox

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We have finally arrived at the final month of the year that we’ll most likely remember as being the worst ever. In order to give 2020 the proper “good riddance” party that it deserves, we’re sending a box that pulls out all the stops. Or, shall we say, pulls out all the cork stoppers….? Because it’s a booze-themed box, people! Each cheese and pairing plays with the theme of alcohol! We've got wine, cognac, stout...but don't worry, this box isn't just for drinkers, like always, it's for any and all cheese lovers. So get out your cheese knives (and drinking glasses, if that's your thing) and get ready to celebrate this month with the Cheers! box. 

The December 2020 Cheers! curdbox

Dubliner with Irish Stout by Kerrygold

First up is the Kerrygold Dubliner with Irish Stout. Kerrygold is well-beloved for its stellar butter and cheese, made of milk rich from cows that eat grass nearly all-year round in the mild Irish climate. To get this extra-Irish version (wrapped in bright green wax, natch), they took their Dubliner, a hard cheddarish type that’s sweet, nutty, and mild, and mixed it with Irish stout ("the chocolate of beers" as Jenn notes in this month's podcast), which adds dark malty and slightly bitter notes.

Kerrygold's Dubliner with Irish Stout and Divina's Sweet Sangria Olives

The result is a hearty, delicious cheese, with a warming mouthfeel. It crumbles easily, but still melts in your mouth, and you may just happen across some of those delightfully crunchy crystals, too. Like with all cheeses, make sure to let this one come to room temperature before eating so you can really appreciate all of its wonderful complexity. To go with the theme, let’s say “cheers” in Irish: Sláinte! (Pronounced “slawn-che”). 

Fior d'Arancio

Next is a young blue made by Sergio Moro (the same maker from October’s Sottocenere al Tartufo) with cow's milk from the local dairy cooperative in the Veneto region. This is a young blue, only aged four months, so it's still creamy and accessible, and we encourage everyone, even the blue-averse, to try it. To make any blue cheese, the cheesemaker pierces the moulded cheese, which aerates the cheese and allows the blue veins to form. But to make this blue cheese, Moro Formaggio goes a step further and washes the cheese in a sweet wine called Fior d’Arancio (hence the name) and tops it with orange peel, adding marmelade taste (this cheese basically comes with its own pairing!)

Moro Formaggi's Fior d'Arancio and Mitica's Classico Taralli 

Fior d'Arancio translates to “orange blossom”, and the wine and the orange peel together imbue the cheese with intoxicating floral and fruity aromas. This is a real showstopper: elegant and intriguing, as its both funky and sweet. Let's raise a glass to this holiday cheese and say "cheers" in Italian: Cin Cin! (Pronounced “cheen-cheen”).

El Piconero by Señorio de la Mancha

Spain’s Señorio de la Mancha spared no decadence with their El Piconero. It starts like a manchego, with a sheep's milk cheese that's aged for 10 months. But then, the cheese spends its final two months in a warming bath of cognac. As a final grace note, the cheeses are lathered in butter and herbs, which lend a sort of roasted herb/holiday stuffing kind of aroma. This cheese is complex and sophisticated, and fit for eating by the fireplace in a smoking jacket. Be sure to try the cheese with and without the rind, because the flavor will vary significantly. It's the perfect before-dinner cheese, or after-dinner cheese, or even for-dinner cheese, and for that most definitely worthy of the Spanish “salud!”  

El Piconero by Señorio de la Mancha with Spanich Cocktail Mix by Mitica

Spanish Cocktail Mix by Mitica

Staying in Spain for just a little bit longer, we have the Spanish Cocktail Mix from Mitica. This is not just your normal nut mix: each item—corn kernels, fava beans, chickpeas, and almonds—brings its own distinct flavor and texture, causing it to really be more than the sum of its parts. Though many of us know nuts as a popular bar snack,  they also happen to go fantastically with our cheeses, adding a salty crunchy pop with each bite. And, as the name implies, they go great with cocktails, or any other festive drink you may be imbibing this holiday season. "Salud", once more!

Sweet Sangria Olives by Divina

Next we have another cheeseboard classic that’s been elevated to something really special. Divina has brought us their Sweet Sangria Olives. Now, we admit this is a little unusual, because it truly is like if Divina were making sangria, but instead of throwing in a bottle of booze, they threw in a jar of their rich, luscious Greek olives instead. Marinated with tangerine, orange, and spice, these are bright and unique pairing. We encourage you to transfer them to a shallow bowl so you can see flecks of citrus rind for added visual appeal. Beautiful, delicious, unique—let's say cheers to that in Greek: “yiamas!” 

Classico Taralli by Mitica

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: five golden rings! Actually, more than five of these absolutely addictive crackers from Puglia, Italy. If you haven’t yet been initiated into the tarralli fan club, then welcome, it’s a lifelong membership. These are the classic originals, made with olive oil and white wine, with a rich and layered  flavor with a toothsome crunch. They pair wonderfully with our cheeses and pairings, and they don't discriminate when it comes to booze, either. Not to mention, they are an usual and visually pleasing shape to add interest to your cheeseboard. "Cin cin" again!

So there’s our celebratory end-of-the-year box! Not only is it delicious, with some really cool and interesting pairing and flavors, it's also just a beautiful box ripe with potential for making some really stunning cheese boards. Special enough to raise a champagne flute, a coup, a pint, or a glass of wine too. Let us say Cheers in Irish (Slainté), Italian (Cin Cin), Spanish (Salud), Greek (Yiamas), and we'll see you in the new year!


Did you take some photos while enjoying this box that you were thinking of adding to Instagram? Please tag us @curdbox, along with our cheese and pairing partners @kerrygoldusa, @quesosgrangusto, @divinaspecialty, and @forevercheeseco. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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