Too Gouda to Be True | September 2020 curdbox

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Your might need to pinch yourself awake, because this month’s box is Too Gouda to Be True! It’s our ode to gouda, an unabashed embrace of unconventional pairings, and our most pun-able box to date (so buckle in). Just like last month’s box, which had three types of cheddar, this month we have three distinctly different Dutch goudas, from three different kinds of milk, proving that no matter gouda say it, gouda can encompass a broad range of tastes and textures and still be gouda.

The theme for the pairings this month is nuttiness and caramel, as they underscore the butterscotch and nutty notes that are one of the (many) things about gouda that we know and love. These flavors also capture the turn of the season, with the whiff of fall in the air, and would be perfectly suitable with apple cider (or your pumpkin spice treat of choice). So let’s get to it and let the gouda times roll.

Lamb Chopper by Cypress Grove

While Cypress Grove out of Humboldt County in California is known for its goat cheeses (which past curdbox subscribers would recognize), 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. Below, see Lamb Chopper with the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs from Puffworks.

Cypress Grove's Lamb Chopper with Puffworks' Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs

Honey Bee Goat by Cheeseland

On to our next gouda which is, you guessed it, the goat milk one. Beloved by all who know them, Cheeseland just can’t miss, and they scored another home run with Honey Bee Goat. For this one, they drizzle just a little bit of honey in with pasteurized goat’s milk, before doing their gouda thing with it and aging it for six months. The result is a firm but pliable cheese that’s redolent of honey-roasted nuts with a squirt of lemon. If you think you don’t like goat cheeses, then this is the cheese for you: sweet and smooth, it’s the ultimate gateway goat’s cheese and perfect for snacking, cooking, or eating with Newfangled Confections’ Frittle (shown below).

Honey Bee Goat by Cheeseland with Original Peanut Frittle by Newfangled Confections

Prima Donna by Vandersterre

If this name makes you raise an eyebrow, just wait until you try it. Not content with unbridled global success of Dutch gouda, the ambitious types over at Vandersterre turned their eye to northern Italy, specifically on Parmigianno-Reggiano, and asked—what about that? So they kept their tried and true gouda process using traditional cow’s milk, but used cheese cultures from northern Italy. What they created is a cheese that can do it all: slice, grate, nugget—truly worthy of its name. It’s nutty, creamy, and a little tangy, ready to take center stage or happy elevate whatever it’s pair with. And, the icing on the cake? It’s star-studded with those crunchy tyrosine crystals (which you might know as “the little crunchies.”) Below, we paired nuggets of Prima Donna with the Single Malt Scotch Caramels from McCrea’s Candies.

Prima Donna by Vandersterre with Single Malt Scotch Caramels by McCrea's Candies

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs by Puffworks

The perfect pairing for a dreamy box are these Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Puffs from Puffworks out of Oregon. What’s a Puff, you ask? It’s a light, crisp little cloud that tastes like a peanut butter cup but without the heaviness. Somehow creamy while crunchy, it can break the brain if you think too hard about it—so don’t, and just enjoy it! The first of our two nutty pairings not only complements the nuttiness in our goudas, but also shows that you can get creative with your cheese plates—it doesn’t have to be just dried fruit, crackers, and nuts! Think outside the (curd)box and experiment with what you put on your cheese board.

Original Peanut Frittle by Newfangled Confections

Our second nut-forward pairing is the Original Peanut Frittle by Newfangled Confections. If you don’t know what we’re on about, that’s because frittle is newfangled indeed: a cross between peanut fudge and brittle, frittle is at once familiar and entirely new. We don’t know how they do it, but we do know that these little squares are snappy enough to act as a cracker, while their butterscotchy nuttiness is a gouda match made in heaven.

Single Malt Scotch Caramels by McCrea’s Candies

Our last pairing goes all in on the caramel theme, and then adds a little something extra. Jason McCrea from Boston’s McCrea’s Candies has a science and chemistry background and is one of those obsessive types that’s single-mindedly focused on achieving perfection—basically the kind of person we’re so glad to have in this world, because for him we owe these perfect caramels. If you think you don’t like alcohol or scotch, just hang on a second because it’s not what you think. The scotch adds more of a umami richness, so it’s like your typical caramel, but somehow…just…better. Whereas our first two pairings highlighted the gouda flavors of nuts and caramel, this last pairing highlights gouda’s caramel and umami notes. Now, we don’t want to tell you how to enjoy your box, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go for a trifecta of these caramels + frittle or puffs + any cheese and every cheese in this box.

If these three sweet-ish pairings seems decadent to you—just remember that people are pairing honey and sweet jams with cheeses all the time and no one thinks /that’s/ over-the-top. But don’t feel limited by what we provide, we encourage you to add on to this box—perhaps a trio of apples or a triplet of cured hams. As Jenn explains in this month’s podcast episode, it felt like this box was handed down from above, and the undeniable theme (besides nuttiness and caramel) was the gestalt—everything goes with everything, and it’s somehow even better than the sum of it’s (scrumptious) parts. So now, go forth and enjoy, and have a gouda time!


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 @cypressgrovers, @puffworks, @newfangledconfections, and @mcreascandies. We love to see our cheese lovers enjoying their boxes!

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