Joyful Harvest | November 2020 curdbox

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For a lot of us, November means colder temps and grey skies. But, it also means Thanksgiving, a celebration of nature's bounty and a way to send off the waning days of fall with a bang. In this trying year, we'll take joy any way we can get it, which is what we channeled into our Joyful Harvest box. With our three cheeses and three pairings, we wanted to capture as much of the depth and breadth of fall as we could. Like July's Fruitful box, this is one where everything goes with everything, and you can nosh your way through in no particular order and be rest assured that every combination is going to be a winner. But, for the sake of the blog, let's pick our way through each component one-by-one.

Morbier AOP

If you're lucky enough to have tried Morbier before, then you may have just squealed in delight. And this isn't just any old Morbier, this one is AOP, meaning that it was made according to certain regulations that ensure it hews closely to tradition (basically, this means that it's a good one). Made in the Franche-Comté region, Morbier originally came about as a by-product of Comté production: if the farmer had leftover curds that weren't enough to make another wheel of Comté, they'd put it in smaller molds, cover it with a layer of ash to keep in the moisture and keep out the flies, and then add more curd on top the next day. This is what gave Morbier its distinctive dark line through the center. These days, however, the cheese is no longer made with ash—the cheesemakers figured out it was delicious enough to make on its own and so now make enough to fill the Morbier mold all at once. But they still brush a vegetable dye in the center to give it a dark line as homage to the old ways, and to let you know you're in for a treat.

Morbier AOP with Butternut Pepitas by Stony Brook WholeheartedFoods

Made in the manner of a Comté, Morbier falls into our smooth & melty cheese category. But it also has the telltale orange-tinged rind of a washed rind cheese, which means it's just a little bit funky, too. If funk isn't your thing, then just don't eat the rind, though we do encourage you to at least try it. Morbier is a great gateway to the funkier stuff, as it's mellowed out by the soft and rich creaminess of the paste. Like always, you'll really want to let this one come to room temperature, when it will become soft and supple, and slightly tacky to the touch—it also melts beautifully. Before you inhale the whole thing in one go (understandable), pause a moment and see if you can pick out the grassy notes—which mingle nicely with our herby mustard.

Leonora by Mitica

In our quest to stuff an abundance of flavor into our box, we present to you: Leonora. She's a surface-ripened bloomy & brainy goat's milk cheese out of León, Spain that really packs a punch. Her mottled white and grey rind is from an ash coating, beneath which is a great example of what's called the creamline—the softer, more translucent and somewhat jellier ring just beneath the rind. This happens with surface-ripened cheeses, they start to ripen from the surface inwards, and the creamline is the result of the microbes transforming the paste into something different (yet still delectable).

Leonora with Craize's Sweet Corn Crackers

If given enough time to age, that creamline would gradually makes its way all the way to the center. But, it's best to halt it before it gets too thick—this creamline is thin but mighty. It's got a stronger and sharper taste than the classic goat's white paste within, which is firm to the touch but velvety, and melts on the tongue. To top it all off, there's the typical bright tanginess from the goat's cheese, and a salty savoriness that make even just a small bite of this cheese enough to turn your taste buds up to 11. Bloomy & brainy cheeses pair well with salty and sweet flavors, and while this is a savory box, we encourage you to dig around your kitchen and try a bite with some honey or jam.

Tintern by Somerdale

Our final cheese you'll be able to pick out immediately from its green flecks, which are chopped up chives mixed right in. There's shallots in there, too, so this cheese is responsible for the alluring aroma of alliums that are necessary for any savory feast. Tintern is a Welsh-style cheddar from Somerdale, which is salty and full-flavored. Again, like all cheeses, this one should be brought to room temperature in order to reach its full expression. It will also soften up much more than a standard cheddar—to the point where it could be pressed with a knife and spread across bread like a, uh, spread. Whatever you choose to do, you can't go wrong—a bite of this is basically a complete and self-contained comfort food.

Somerdale's Tintern with Tarragon Dijon Mustard from Edmond Fallot

Butternut Pepitas from Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods

Many people are familiar with roasted pumpkin seeds as an October, post-Jack-o-Lantern snack, but there's no reason that you can't roast the seeds of other autumn squash the same way. Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods has already known this for years, and they've got their system down pat. First, they source their seeds from local farms in the New York Finger Lakes region. Then they brine the seeds, so that the salt can bring out the flavors all the way through, and then they roast them in small batches for depth of flavor and optimal crunchiness. Just a few seeds is all that's needed per bite to add texture and roasty depth to each bite. While absolutely worth eating on their own merit, it's worth pointing out that these roasted seeds are a good substitution for nuts for anyone with a nut allergy—same rich and roasted flavor and crunchy texture.

Tarragon Dijon Mustard from Edmond Fallot

Oh Edmond Fallot, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways. We've seen different iterations of this mustard in our January box and our June box from this year, and there's a reason we keep coming back to them: they simply make the best mustard out there. They still stone grind their mustard seeds like they did back when they were founded in 1840 (why mess with a good thing?), which puts out strong and complex mustards. With the gorgeously green-hued one in this box, they've ground fresh tarragon leaves right in with the mustard seeds, lending heady herbaceous notes to the already superlative dijon. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way, and with a whole jar, you should definitely still have some around for Thanksgiving leftover sandwiches.

Sweet Corn Crackers from Craize

And finally, our cracker and corn superstar: Sweet Corn Crackers from Craize. These are made in America by a Venezuelan that wanted to spread the joy of Latin American flavors. Based off of the South American arepa (a fried cornflour paddy that's way better than that description makes it sound), these crackers are wafer-thin but sturdy, and bursting with corn flavor. And they round out this month's with just a whisper sweetness.

So, now all that's left is to go forth and consume this box joyfully! Layer up the pairings, and bring in some players from outside the box. And let us give thanks for our artisans that have dedicated their lives to making these high-quality goods that we can enjoy. 


Did you take some photos while enjoying this box that you going to post on Instagram? Please tag us @curdbox, along with our cheese and pairing partners @somerdalecheese, @forevercheeseco, @stonybrookoils, @moutardesfallot, and @gocraize. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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