Going Nuts | August 2021 curdbox

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Is it true? Could it possibly be the last month of summer? It went by so quick, we at curdbox feel like we're (almost) losing our minds. Luckily, we have a box to perfectly capture this feeling of wanting to do all of the summer things at once: it's our Going Nuts box. Three nutty cheeses and three-different-nuts-nutty pairings—it's so good you might lose your mind, too.

august 2021 curdbox contents

August 2021's Going Nuts curdbox

Bandage Wrapped Raw Milk Cheddar by Fiscalini Farmstead

First up is a cheddar from Fiscalini Farmstead in Modesto, CA. But this isn't just any cheddar, this name of this cheese is like a glossary for everything you hope to see in a cheese. Starting at the beginning, you can see that it's bandage wrapped, also known as clothbound, means that the cheese is wrapped in cloth as it ages (we've seen this technique before in the Cabot Clothbound from January 2021's Fireside Glow box). Clothbinding has a couple of a effects: it acts as a substrate for the surface mold, which adds complexity and depth to the final flavor. And unlike waxbinding, clothbinding allows some of the moisture in the cheese to evaporate, which leads to a crumblier cheese with a more concentrated flavor. Next, we see this cheese is made from raw milk, which means that none of the flavor-creating bacteria naturally present in the milk were lost in the pasteurization process. Raw milk cheeses also have that signature long finish after each bite, in which the the flavor lingers on the tongue. Then, it's a cheddar—one of the world's most beloved cheeses for a reason. 

Fiscalini Farmstead's Bandage-Wrapped Cheddar with The Gilded Nut Original Blend Pistachios

To round off this lexicon, we see that Fiscalini is a farmstead, which means that the cheese is made on the farm itself. Not only does this mean that the milk is as fresh as can be, but it also means the cheesemakers even have some degree of control over the milk itself, in addition to controlling the cheesemaking process, so with farmstead cheeses you are truly tasting the cheesemaker's vision. So, even before tasting you can be pretty excited about this cheddar.

Not just any farmstead, Fiscalini is a fourth generation family-owned dairy that is known to have some of the happiest, healthiest cows in the biz, meaning their milk is top shelf. This cheddar you have is highly decorated, and in 2007, it became the first non-English cheddar to win "Best Cheddar" at the World Cheese Awards. It's savory, nutty, and butter, with a dry and flaky texture that wants to crumble into bits. But it's worth gathering up every spare crumb, because it there's a crazy amount of flavor packed into each little bit. 

36-Month Gouda by Artikaas

Next we have another model cheese in its class: the 36-month Gouda by Artikaas. The Artikaas line of authentic Dutch Goudas has six generations of family farming and cheesemarking behind it, and was born from a merger between an old cheesemaking family and an old cheese aging and cheese selling family–a match made in heaven!


Artikaas 36-month Gouda with The Casa Market's Guava Paste with Pecans 

If you're having a nut-themed cheese board, you absolutely have to have an aged gouda in there, because they're basically the poster child for nuttiness. The older they are, the nuttier they get (sort of like people, too), and this one is aged three years! That's that's not old for a person, it's definitely a mature specimen for a cheese. This deeply golden wedge is basically the epitome of an aged gouda, with a firm and flaky texture that has the added contrast of little tyrosine crystals lining the hollows scattered throughout. The flavor is like a savory concentrate of nuts, butterscotch, and salt. If you want to learn more about aged gouda, and hear others rhapsodize about its magnificence, check out the inaugural episode from Food Network Star Justin Warner's new podcast Warner's World of Wonders. Curdbox CEO and founder Jenn Mason is interviewed about cheese generally and gouda more specifically! And, Justin is co-curating September's box with us, too!

Tres Leches by La Gruta Del Sol

Meaning Three Milks from the Cave of the Sun, this Manchego-esque cheese is made in Rioja, Spain and it really does use three different kinds of milks: sheep, goat, and cow. Each of these milks brings something different to the table: the cow's milk adds creaminess, the goat's milk adds tanginess, and the sheep's milk adds saltiness. Three-milk cheeses are somewhat rare, and so the flavor is unfamiliar and intriguing, which keeps you slicing bite after bite. The paste is creamy and smooth, with a slight acidity and nuttiness. The rind is also rubbed in olive oil, adding another layer of flavor. You can eat the rind on this one, so give it a nibble and you'll notice that it's earthy and mushroomy, and more intense than a bite taken from the paste in the center of the wedge.

Tres Leches from La Gruta del Sol with Potter's Crackers Cranberry Hazelnut Crisps

Original Blend Pistachio Kernels from the Gilded Nut

We'e seen the Gilded Nut before, in last year's Hillside Picnic box, and we're so pleased to include them again, this time with their original blend spice mix. The company's out of of Portland, Maine sources their pistachios from small-scale California growers, who have the patience and ability to let each pistachio ripen on the tree. This not only leads to a maximally plump, meaty nut with full pistachio flavor, but it's also what allows the shells to open naturally (so just think about this next time you try to pry open a pistachio shell—it's not ripe!). These superlative nuts then take a tumble in the Gilded Nuts original spice blend of oregano, smoked paprika, parsley, turmeric, onion, cayenne, cumin and salt, which brings a perfect trilogy of herby-spiced-nutty flavor to each bite, and plays beautifully with this month's nutty cheeses.

Guava Paste with Pecans by The Casa Market 

We're so excited for the curdbox debut of The Casa Market, a company that partners with small-scale farms in Mexico in order to import Mexican vanilla and guava products. This guava paste, from Calvillo, Mexico, is an absolute treat: floral, aromatic, and tropical, the paste is solid but not stiff, with a beautifully yielding texture that blends seamlessly which our nutty cheeses. The added pecans scattered throughout, are an added bonus, giving textural contrast and another depth of sweet nutty flavor. Be sure to check out their website, where they have recipes of other ways you can use your guava paste, such as with their Guava Spanakopita.

Cranberry and Hazelnut Crisps by Potter's Crackers

Our final pairing is are the Cranberry and Hazelnut Crisps from Potter's Crackers, which was started by a mother-son team in Wisconsin. They saw the explosion of artisan craft cheese in Wisconsin, but didn't see any Wisconsin crackers that were made with the same level of dedication to the craft. So, they started Potter's Crackers to make a Wisconsin cracker that could stand up to Wisconsin cheeses, and they use all midwestern, organic ingredients, and partner with farms that use sustainable farming practices, to boot. We love these crisps because they are both hearty and delicate, and could either be a perfectly reasonable snack on their own, or a crowning decoration for a fine and fancy dessert. The crisps are slightly sweet and quite thin, tessellated with cross-sections of hazelnuts, raisins, and seeds. But they're still strong and can indeed stand up to any kind of cheese you might throw at it. Call us biased, but we think this nutty cracker is a marvelous match for our nutty cheeses.

So, there's our nutty box! We hope this opens your eyes to the numerous ways that nuts can be incorporated in a cheeseboard—though we love them, there's a whole, mad, nutty world beyond Marcona almonds. Listen to the podcast for even more ideas of how you can amend your curdbox with fresh and seasonal items items. So have at it, and go nuts!


Did you take some photos for the 'gram while enjoying this box? Please tag us @curdbox, along with our cheese and pairing partners @fiscalinifarmstead, @artikaasgouda, @gildednut, @thecasamarket, and @pottercrackers. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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