Sour, Meet Sweet | May 2023 curdboxFLEX

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Curdbox is our monthly cheese + pairing subscription service. Want to join our merry band of cheese lovers? Head on over to our subscription page to sign up for your monthly box! Or, check our curdboxFLEX for a box that is nut-free, gluten-free, and vegetarian!

This month, we introduce two of our flavor profiles, and introduce you to one of the most underutilized cheeseboard combos that also just so happens to be an ace up your sleeve. So without further ado: Sour, Meet Sweet. We have three cheeses that lean a little sweet, and a mix of sweet and sour pairings to match. It’s one of those boxes where you can just eat your way round-and-round and never get bored, as each new combination unlocks another dimension of flavor. So, enough of the introductions, let’s dive in!

Sour, Meet Sweet - the November / May 2022 curdboxFLEX

Seahive Cheddar by the Beehive Cheese Co. 

First up, from “The Beehive State” (that’s Utah!), comes the Beehive Cheese Co. Founders Tim Walsh and Pat Ford are brothers-in-law, but they didn’t come from a cheesemaking family. Instead, they were a software guy and a real estate salesman who were seeking a “simple way of life” and ended up starting a cheese company that’s now known for its line of award-winning cheeses. This month’s selection is their Seahive Cheddar, a complex cheese that’s slightly sweet, with a tangy twist. And unlike a lot of cheddars, it’s mild and creamy, which means it plays nice with everyone. The cheese is made by hand using high-quality, local Jersey cows milk, then is rubbed with wildflower honey and the salt from an ancient seabed, giving it its pink hue. The result is a cheese that's got a slightly sweet bite that's just sharp enough to satisfy all of your cheddar cravings.

Seahive Cheddar by Beehive Cheese with the Gluten-Free Water Crackers from the Fine Cheese Co.

Lamb Chopper by Cypress Grove

Next is our sweet-as-a-lamb sheep's milk gouda. While Cypress Grove out of Humboldt County in California is known for its goat cheeses, they do have one humdinger of sheep’s cheese in their line: Lamb Chopper. Cypress Grove commissioned Lamb Chopper from their cheesemaking partners in Holland who, doing what the Dutch do best, made a delectable young (3 month) sheep gouda that’s mild and smooth, with notes of butter and cream. But just because it’s mild, doesn’t mean it’s boring—its a little sweet and a little tangy, with a nuttiness that lingers on the tongue. Because sheep’s milk has a higher fat content than cow’s milk, you’ll really notice this cheese soften up when you let it come to room temperature before serving (which you should always be doing with your cheeses!) Last note: we love the logo—a lamb riding a chopper motorcycle, cool as can be.

Cypress Grove's Lamb Chopper with the Maple Pepitas by Stony Brook

*For the november box, the San Joaquin Gold by Fiscalini Cheese Co. has been replaced with the Honey Bee Goat Gouda from Cheeseland, Inc.

Honey Bee Goat Gouda from Cheeseland, Inc.

As a young boy, Jan Kos, owner & founder of Seattle’s Cheeseland, spent a lot of time at his Grandfather’s cheese-making company in Holland, slowly absorbing everything there is to know about cheese production and distribution. Eventually, taking that knowledge and experience, he moved to America to start his own cheese importing company, distributing Dutch specialty cheeses throughout the US, which he now operates with the help of his wife, two sons, and a very dedicated group of employees. Their Honey Bee Goat Gouda has a drizzle of honey added to pure goat milk for a slightly sweet, roasted cashew-like flavor, which is not too strong or salty, with a firm, slightly crumbly, yet creamy texture. This one offers a little bit of everything.

(From the May box)
San Joaquin Gold by Fiscalini Cheese Co

San Joaquin Gold from Fiscalini in California is one of those European-styles with an American twist. In the European tradition, it’s named for where it’s from: the San Joaquin valley. The cheesemakers had originally intended to make something closer to fontina, but ended up with a cheese that’s a little saltier and a little firmer, and has got those irresistible little crunchies throughout. It’s closer to Parm than fontina, but it’s also not a Parm. It’s also sort of like a cheddar? So basically, it just became its own thing. And that’s fine by us because it’s buttery, complex, and just a little bit sweet. 

Fiscalini's San Joaquin Gold with Sweet 'N Sassy Bread & Butter Pickles by Marcia's Pickled Munchies

Maple Pepitas by Stony Brook

To pair, we’re starting with something a little sweet, and, because we couldn’t resist layering on multiple flavor profiles, this is also a non-nut (!!!) “nutty” pairing. We love to use roasted seeds for our flex boxes, because they give that nutty taste, but without the nuts. And when it comes to seeds, there's few companies in the same league as Stony Brook Wholehearted Foods. Unlike almost all other pumpkin seed companies, who get their seeds from China, Stony Brook sources 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 drizzle them with maple syrup for a sweet note. The seeds are then roasted in batches for depth of flavor and optimal crunchiness—they almost have a lacquered quality, with a light and crisp bite that adds wonderful textural contrast is this month's box. We love it with our sweet-ish cheeses, but also think it’s a great contrast to the sour pickles, too!

Sweet 'N Sassy Bread & Pickles by Maria's

What could be better for our sweet and sour box than a sweet pickle? Behold, the Sweet ‘N Sassy Bread & Butter Pickles by Marcia’s Pickled Munchies. You know we often have award-winning cheeses in the box, but now we’re proud to bring you an award-winning pickle, too! This pickle won its category at the 2014 Good Food Awards. Founded by Marcia Nodel herself, these pickles are part of what she calls the “elegant snacking” movement, which is all about eating foods that are made from natural ingredients. Like so many of our pairing makers, she started off just making food for her friends and family, before she realized she could bring this pickle bliss to even more people if she made a go of it with a business. And we’re so glad she did! It’s the perfect everything pickle, and it’s a match made in heaven for this month’s cheeses.

*For the November box, the Gluten-Free Water Cracker by the Fine Cheese Co. have been replaced with the Gluten-Free Crackerthins Potato Cracker from Valley Produce Co.

Gluten-Free Crackerthins Potato Cracker from Valley Produce Co.

After hanging-up his apron at age 23, renowned chef Christopher Smith founded the Valley Produce Company, which has grown to become one of Australia's most recognized and respected gourmet food companies. Their Gluten Free Crackerthins Potato Crackers, have a great, buttery taste with a satisfying crunch, and are delicate, yet strong enough to carry all of your favorite toppings. 

(from the May box)
Gluten-Free Water Cracker by the Fine Cheese Co.

We are so delighted that the Fine Food Mavens over at the Fine Cheese Co. turned their sights to the gluten-free cracker. We've been longtime fans of their whole cracker line, which they made because they wanted to make crackers as good as their cheeses (which we can attest are darn good). This month’s featured cracker is gluten-free and dairy-free, but it doesn’t feel like it’s missing a single thing. Made with maize flour, soya bran and tapioca, it’s got a complexity from its toastiness. In this month’s podcast, Jenn and Julie talk about how just because something is “neutral” doesn’t mean it’s bland or boring—and this is a perfect example. The cracker is neutral enough to pair with anything, but that doesn’t mean it’s like eating a blank canvas! It definitely brings enough to hold up its end of the pairing combo. And, it’s always great to have another gluten-free cracker in your back pocket. 

And that's the box! We hope this piques your interest in exploring these two flavor profiles together for your future cheeseboards—may there be many!


Did you take some photos for the 'gram while enjoying this box? Please tag us @curdbox, along with our cheese and pairing partners @beehivecheese, @cypressgrovers, @fiscalinifarmstead, @stonybrookoils, @marciasmunchies,, @cheeselandinc, @valleyproducecompany, and @thefinecheesecoWe love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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