Cuppa Joe | March 2020 curdbox

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Here at curdbox headquarters, we’re just about getting to wrap up winter, but not quite—it’s still a little cold, a little dark, and most definitely not yet spring. But that’s why March is the perfect time for the world’s favorite pick-me-up: coffee. If cheese and wine or cheese and beer seem perfectly normal, then we invite you skip on over to cheese and coffee. It’s not the first pairing you might think of, but that’s exactly why we like it—it’s unexpected and stirs up the March doldrums. This month our cheeses and pairings are the perfect gateway to this underused flavor combo, so get out your cheese board and go on and pour yourself a Cuppa Joe.


The Cuppa Joe box

Barely Buzzed by Beehive Cheese
Barely Buzzed from Beehive Cheese is an American original and a medalist many times over, having racked up 20 awards since its inception in 2007. It starts in Utah, with Jersey cows’ milk that is pasteurized and turned into a friendly, full-bodied cheddar with a smooth and creamy texture. The finishing touch that makes the magic happen is that the rind is rubbed with lavender and coffee. This unusual flavor combo was originally just an experiment that Beehive cheesemakers Tim Welsh and Pat Ford were told was scientifically a bad idea. But it turns out, it was more breakthrough than bust, as the resulting cheese was absolutely delicious. The coffee and lavender work their way into the cheese from the rind in, unlocking notes of butterscotch and caramel along the way. We encourage you to try the rind—it adds an intense roasty toasty flavor that we swear tastes just like wood-fired pizza dough. Try this cheese with the mocha bites—the chocolate, coffee, and caramel flavors together are enough to perk anyone up.

Barely Buzzed by Beehive Cheese paired with No Bean Mocha Bites by Decor Chocolate

Sapore Del Piave by Mitica
Our next cheese comes from the Veneto region of northern Italy. Sapore del Piave (named for the Piave river) is a hard cow’s milk cheese aged from 12-16 months. It’s texture is similar to that of Parmigiano-Reggiano, but with a subtler flavor that’s salty, buttery, nutty, and a little fruity. It also is studded with those delightful crunchy crystals. While they seem like salt, it’s actually the amino acid tyrosine that has lost its moisture and crystallized. You can level up this crunch by pairing it with the crispy Small Batch Organics granola, which makes the perfect salty-sweet combo.

Sapore del Piave by Mitica paired with Coffee Bark by Small Batch Organics

Ewephoria by Cheeseland
Our last cheese is a gouda-style cheese from Holland’s Cheeseland, the cleverly named Ewephoria. If you think you don’t like sheep’s cheese, then it’s even more important that you try this one—Cheeseland developed this cheese specifically for American tastes. They partnered with a family farm in the Friesland part of Holland, where the sheep graze on lush pasture (the owners joke that the sheep eat better than their children do), and follow a gouda-like process, though using different cultures. The result is not just a cheese that isn’t very “sheepy”, but a cheese that has been called “cheese candy”. It’s sweet and nutty, with butterscotch notes, along with those delightfully crunchy crystals. Pair it with the Coffee Jelly and it’s like a caramel mocha.

Ewephoria by Cheeseland paired with Coffee Jelly by Potlicker Kitchen

Coffee Jelly from Potlicker Kitchen
There’s a reason we’ve used Vermont-based Potlicker Kitchen in a few of our boxes already—they consistently cook up delicious and unusual jellies and jams. Case in point: Coffee Jelly. Like fruit jelly, but made with coffee—simple yet brilliant. Somehow it manages to smell intensely of coffee but not taste intensely of coffee—instead it’s sweet, dark, and roasty. You could use it on a sandwich or as a glaze for meat—it transforms everything it touches into a better version of itself, so adding a dash to anything at all feels like cheating.

No Bean Mocha Bites from Decor Chocolates
Our second pairing are these addictive bites from Decor Chocolates from Washington state. The husband and wife duo loved the idea of chocolate covered espresso beans, but didn’t like the grittiness that comes from actually eating an espresso bean. Thus, they formulated their No Bean bites. All the flavor of coffee, but it goes down as smooth as a truffle. You could eat these bites any time of day—for breakfast, for a snack, for dessert—but we think they are a great pair with our cheeses—like a mocha cheesecake all in one bite.

Coffee Bean Granola Bark from Small Batch Organics
To round out our coffee-centric pairings, we have Coffee Bean Granola from Vermont’s Small Batch Organics. What we have here is essentially the platonic ideal of a granola bar—oats, almonds, maple syrup—that’s lovingly dressed with a sheen of chocolate, and then sprinkled with magic pixie dust, aka coffee chips. What’s a coffee chip, you ask? Why it’s that thing you didn’t know you needed: crushed coffee beans that are re-roasted and candied. These provide another layer of texture and crackles of flavor to an already superlative snack.

We had a lot of fun putting this box together and exploring coffee beyond what your pour into your morning cup. May this box be a launching off point for more experimentation in flavor, texture, and pairing. Until next month, cheers!

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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 @beehivecheese, @forevercheeseco, @potlickerkitchen, and @smallbatchorganics. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

 

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