Fruitful | July 2020 curdbox

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Summer’s in full swing now, and if you’re anything like us here at curdbox, that means you are giddy for summer fruit. While we wanted this month’s box to capture that summer spirit, we (regrettably) can’t ship you a fresh peach or a box of raspberries. But we found something (actually three things) just as good: fruit pairings that have undergone some sort of alchemy, with all the complexity and softness of ripe fruit, but in shippable form. Our cheeses this month are laid back, each bringing a distinct mellowness to our fruit pairings. In fact, this whole box is just taking it easy—everything goes with everything and there’s really nothing to fret about. It’s a wonderful way to be, so let’s get to it, and see what’s in this month’s Fruitful box. 

The Fruitful curdbox

Young Mimolette
You may have seen mimolette before, it usually stands out because of its shockingly orange color. And if you’ve ever seen a wheel of it, you’ll know it’s really more of a ball than a wheel. In fact, that’s its nickname: boule de Lille. While that moniker may make it seem like this cheese is French to its (bright orange) core, it’s actually the result of the French trying their hand at a Dutch cheese: legend has it that mimolette came about when Louis XIV banned the importation of Dutch cheeses into France. Not to be denied their beloved Dutch Edman, the French tried to make their own, and then colored it orange to mark it as the French version. Thus was born one of the great cheeses of northern France.

Young Mimolette by Isigny Saint-Mère with SweetHeart Dried Pomegranate Seeds from The Trinity Fruit Company


Our version this month comes from Isigny Sainte-Mère in Normandy where they have been making mimolette for almost a century. Mimolette is a smooth, semi-hard cow’s milk cheese that’s usually eaten aged, when it’s flavor has become stronger and its body more brittle (that’s where we’re all headed anyway, right?) But our young 3-month wedge here is gentle, sweet, and basically just easy eating. Its fruity notes makes it a great cheese for our pairings—it plays wonderful harmony to the passion fruit jelly melody, a crunchy duo with the pomegranate seeds, and playful dialogue with the chocolate covered grapes.

Fourmage
Nope, that’s not a typo, what we have here is a four-milk gouda-style fromage that those cheeky cheesemakers at Cheeseland have dubbed Fourmage. It’s not every day you see a four-milk cheese (goat, sheep, cow, and buffalo—all grass-fed to boot), and a medaled one at that—this one picked up silver in the Mixed Milk category at the 2017 International Cheese Awards. The makers say it’s a four-cheese symphony called “Deliciosa”; there's saltiness from the sheep’s milk, freshness from the goat’s milk, richness from the buffalo milk, all with the gouda goodness of cow’s milk. It’s got an achingly creamy texture and a mellow but layered flavor with a savory aftertaste that lingers, making it perfect to mingle with the sweet fruity pairings we have this month. It’s pillowy and creamy consistency makes each pairing feel like dessert: a tropical custard with the jellies, a fruit fool with the pomegranates, and a twist on tiramisu with the chocolate grapes.

Fourmage by Cheeseland with Lilikoi Passion Fruit Jellies from Maui Fruit Jewels 

Smoked Idiazábal
You probably know Manchego, but that’s just one of many fantastic sheep’s milk cheeses out of Spain, so let us introduce you to one more: Smoked Idiazabal. This is a traditional, farmhouse cheese out of the Spanish Pyrenees has a dense, firm, and slightly crumbly paste, and has a rich, buttery, and nutty flavor that lingers on the tongue; the smoke is just a whisper in the back. Originally, Idiazabal was made by shepherds who had little space to store cheese, so they would age them in the chimneys of their mountain huts. The subsequent smokiness of the cheese turned out to be a happy result, and is now a hallmark of this Idiazabal. This is our most assertive cheese in the box, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make room for pairings. The jellies let this sophisticated taste ride on a dreamy exotic undercurrent and the pomegranate seeds add a flourish of crunchy sweet, but we think this cheese really meets its match with the chocolate covered grapes. The salty-sweet rich buttery fruity combo is a total flavor bomb.

Smoked Idiazabal by Sarbil with Vine-Dried Chocolate-Dipped Grapes from Life's Grape


Lilikoi Passion Fruit Jellies from Maui Fruit Jewels
Our first fruity pairing is the Lilikoi Passion Fruit Jellies, which are the French classic pate de fruit, but made with the local tropical fruits of Hawaii. Liliko‘i is the Hawaiian word for passion fruit, and the variety that’s most common on Hawaii is the yellow passionfruit, which is tarter than its purple sister, which means that each little jelly is positively bursting with bright acidity, while the flecks of black seeds add a pleasing crunch. This makers at Maui Fruit Jewels expertly craft their jellies by hand in small batches, ensuring that each jelly perfectly captures the taste of Hawaii, and the result are these little glistening bars of bouillon. 

SweetHeart Dried Pomegranate Seeds by the Trinity Fruit Company
Everyone loves pomegranate seeds, but I don’t know anyone that loves the arduous process of extracting them. So this month we are thanking the heavens for Trinity Fruit Company, who have done that work for us so we have nothing to do but experience the glory of this marvelous fruit. Trinity Fruit carefully dries the seeds of their California-grown SweetHeart pomegranates, which are a variety lower in acid and with softer seeds. The result are an addictive fruity snack that goes with everything—salad, granola, dessert—but wouldn’t you know, we think they go especially great with on a cheeseboard. We love the gorgeous burnished ruby color, and the gently crunchy seeds are wrapped snug in a soft, jammy pomegranate goodness.

Dark-Chocolate Vine-Dried Grapes from Life’s Grape
Life’s Grape brings us our final decadent fruit pairing. While these may technically be raisins and the general format is reminiscent of the cinema-favorite Raisinet, please don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ve ever had something like this before. Their California farmers grow Selma Pete grapes, which are not only particularly juicy and flavorful, but also ripen early in the season. This means they have a long time to hang out and dry on the vine, distilling all that flavor down. At the end of the season, the dried grapes are whisked off the vine, bathed in dark chocolate, and dressed with a light dusting of cocoa powder—truly the royal treatment. 

As always, have fun and experiment—try fruits together, cheeses together, and everything in different ratios. Every combo will bring something different. We hope this box opens you up to the magical world of fruit and cheese—if you have your own fresh fruit lying around, we encourage you to add it to the mix! Everyone’s welcome at this party.

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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 @isignyamerica, @lifes_grape, @mauifruitjewels, and @trinityfruitcompany. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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