Cheesy, Breezy, Beautiful.....Vermont

A brief recap of Julianne’s Magical Summer Weekend in Vermont filled with Harbison Dips and Sunshine Sips at Jasper Hill Farm and Shelburne Farms

Happy cows mooing, rolling hills, lush overgrown grass, barrels of hay, dusty feet and cheese-filled laughter and smiles. Welcome to Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. We were there attending their decade celebration, 10 years for the Cellars at Jasper Hill. Long rustic wooden tables filled with familiar faces, locals and happy kids. Each table had two wheels of Harbison and Little Hosmer open and ready to eat with some Vermont beer lavash crackers. In the center of the tables was a huge cheese display of all of Jasper hill’s greatest cheeses…appearances made by Bayley Hazen blue (we drove by that road on the way), a huge hunkin’ wheel of Cabot clothbound cheddar, little Willoughbys, super ripe Moses Sleepers and smooth and aged Alpha Tolman. Of course there was even a celebratory “cheese-cake” for this incredible decade celebration. What a perfect time to win the best TWO cheeses in America, on your 10 year anniversary. It was a very emotional speech by Mateo and Andy (the owners), and everyone got a little teary eyed when Springbrook Farm (last year's winner) handed over the Best in Show ACS trophy over to Jasper Hill. It was beautiful to see such an honor being exchanged from farm to farm in the same state of Vermont.

We spent the rest of the evening indulging in a farm feast, sipping local brews from the tap and watching cows graze in the field as the sun set. We had quite a long drive but we stayed just in time to see the fireworks and the huge bonfire (which could probably be seen from space). It was a magical evening and another one of those times where you truly feel lucky to be a part of this cheesy world. We stayed at a beautiful airbnb about 10 minutes away from the farm in Greensboro. When we arrived, all of the windows were wide open and the space was filled with the fresh, cool Vermont air. Candles were lit, and more cheese was brought out to have with a nice bottle of Gamay Noir. Sipping and snacking we looked through all of the photos I took of the cows, the farm and of course the cheese.

The next day was the big event, the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival at Shelburne Farms. Forty award winning local cheese makers, local beer, wine and cider and tons of artisanal products. As you can imagine, this place was PACKED. Right on the shores of Lake Champlain, the sun was shining and the energy was buzzing. We were able to taste so many different things I could keep you here forever talking about it. One highlight for me was the Sage Farm flower chèvre (pictured below). It was fluffy like a pillow, light like a cloud and sprinkled with fresh edible flowers. Another standout was the Maggie’s Reserve from Cricket Creek Farm (which we got in to the shop 2 days later thanks to our good friends at Provisions Intl.) It’s a gorgeous wheel of raw Massachusetts cow’s milk aged for around 15 months. This cheese is super savory, has hints of pineapple and has a smooth and crunchy texture. The “Best in Fest” cheese was one of our longtime favorites, Pawlet from Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont. Not only did we just feature this special cheese in last month’s curdbox, but it is now back in the case! Stop by the shop to taste some of these amazing cheeses and transport yourself to one of the most beautiful parts of the country. 

- Julianne

The One Where I Ate 2,000 Cheeses (almost)

Imagine you’re in a place where cheese is served for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Where you are surrounded by paintings of cheese, cheese books, and even cheese t-shirts, with over 2,000 cheeses just waiting to be tasted. Now picture heaven… is it all that different?  

There are some moments in your life when you ask yourself, “How did I get here?”

The American Cheese Society is a four day conference all about….. cheese. Believe it or not, it’s true, and it is part of my job to attend.

Working in the cheese world has brought me all over the country, from NYC, to San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Denver and Vermont. One of the many marvels of cheese is that it is very indicative of the places where it is made. At every ACS conference, local producers share with you their cheese and the artisanal wonders of whatever city you are visiting. There are lectures, tastings and interactive classes all geared towards those of us in the world of cheese. One of the highlights is always the amazing “Meet the Makers” event. We were able to meet up with some of our favorite cheese friends, taste new cheeses and chat with the makers of your favorites, like Flory’s Truckle and Shelburne Cheddar. I tasted some fantastic cheeses that we will be rolling into the shop in the upcoming months, even a cheese from Indiana that tastes like BUTTERED PASTA (we can’t wait).

Then there is the “Festival of Cheese” where you can taste all 2,000+ cheeses that were entered into the competition. At first, you walk in and don’t know where to start, but soon you start wandering your way to the island of magical blues, the cloud of creamy dreamy bloomies, smooth goudas, stanky washed rinds, cheddars and burratas galore. You can grab a glass of wine or a cold beer and walk around for hours eating cheese on tables adorned with all the best cheese buddies like crackers, olives, pickles, fruit, even toffee brittle.

The Best in Show cheese this year was…….HARBISON from the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, VT. I was not at all surprised. Last year, it cracked the top 3 and even though I am lucky enough to hang out with this cheese every day , there is still something so incredibly special about it. It is so ooey and gooey, meaty and smoky, woodsy and mushroomy. What more could you want in a cheese?. It is one of those cheeses that is a showstopper and one that has inspired many of our creative pairings. Might we even suggest some black truffle potato chips or some cajun flavored tots for dipping? If you want to get a little crazy, next time you have french fries, cut the top off and dip into a Harbison. (I may or may not have also dunked some McNuggets in it one night after one too many Nightshift Brews).Truly, the possibilities are endless. Thanks for the memories ACS!

- Julianne

 

We have some exciting news....

We are so thrilled to report that just a few short days ago, we were named the Best Cheese Shop in Boston 2018 by The Improper Bostonian! It is beyond exciting for us to be recognized after being open for less than a year, 10 months old this week! When the news broke on Sunday afternoon, some cheering, screaming (and maybe some tears) were exchanged between myself and Jenn over the phone (who had just dropped off Abi, her daughter and our youngest monger at Penn State). Since we opened last September, we have had the chance to meet many, many wonderful people who have helped us achieve our cheese-filled dreams. Our amazing customers, producers, vendors and distributors have all made our start-up adventure as enjoyably delicious and meaningful as it possibly could be. We feel the love of cheese in Brookline growing more and more every single day. In just 10 short months, our customers have taken home over 10,000 pieces of cheese (close to 5,000 lbs!) and they have devoured more than 2,000 grilled cheeses. We are deliriously happy to be a part of such a fantastic community of individuals both in the cheese world and in the Brookline/Boston area. Thank you for continuing to support us everyday and cheers to a cheese-filled future!

- Senior Cheesemonger/Manager, Julianne Webster

Keep it coming! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @curdsandco and @curdbox 

Cheaters can win...

...if you use great ingredients!

 A delicious and quick entertaining appetizer.

A delicious and quick entertaining appetizer.

sweet and spicy Indian flavors with fresh chevré

This flavor combo can't be beat—it's a winning hors d'oeuvre at any bbq, including the one I was at on Memorial Day!  The fresh citrus flavor of Westfield Farms Capri log goat cheese is the perfect cooling agent for the sweet heat in Lyndigo Spice's Pineapple Chutney. (Lyndigo is made right here in Massachusetts!)

Place the goat cheese (I used a mix of fresh chevré and hickory smoked chevré from Westfield Farms in Massachusetts) on a platter topped with dollops of the chutney and a basket of crackers—it'll be nothing like mom's cream cheese and pepper jelly, we promise! Or for a more elegant display, fill mini pastry shells (don't worry, we've got them!) with the softened cheese and top with the chutney and freshly snipped chives.

-Sarah Jennings

What's so cool about the Cheese School?

You may have noticed that the School @ curds&co. has really taken off in the last couple months and we wanted to take a minute to tell you a little bit more about what we're doing here at 288 Washington St.

First, our mission at the school:

Make it accessible - remove barriers to learning and don't be intimidating

Make it fun - and do it by adding value. Your time is important, we won't waste it.

Make it memorable - create a lasting impression that is difficult to duplicate

Light a fire! - earn loyalty and build a desire to learn more!

We definitely have audacious goals but we want to be more than just your neighborhood cheese store. We want to be a place that your kids come for grilled cheese, your spouse comes for a surprise treat for you, you bring your visiting family to as something fun to do, and you meet here with your book club

More than anything we want you to eat more cheese, laugh more laughs, and end your day feeling fulfilled--mind, body and spirit.

So how do we do all that? What are our classes and events like?

First, we speak to you in your language. We don't assume you know anything but we also don't talk down to you. Second, we work tirelessly to find pairings and interesting ways for you to experience cheese and delectables. We don't put anything on a pedestal. We want you to walk out feeling like a food genius without having to do anything other than be open minded and interested.

We don't judge, badger, or belittle--instead we share, encourage and reward.

Your experience with a class will be one that you appreciate from the moment you arrive, we likely will have a full place setting set for you and chilled water waiting. We provide you with our fun but informational "sketch" handouts and we fill you with goodies.

So how do you sign up for a class or event? Come visit us in store or go to our events and classes page on our website here. Bring a friend or make a new one. You know where to find us!

 

CHEESE March Madness is HERE!

We're already to eat some cheese and have some fun!

Join us for our first annual CHEESE March Madness 

Here's how to play:

  1. Download the bracket sheet using button below
  2. Print it out
  3. Fill in who you think will win each battle and write that in the next spot. Do that for each round making sure to add the final winner in the middle.
  4. Bring us your filled out sheet, or email it to info@curdsandco.com by Midnight on March 15th.

Here's how it works:

  • The Sweet 16 will be determined by purchases in store.
  • The Elite 8 will be determined by tasting votes in store on March 16 and 17
  • The Final Four will be determined by tasting votes in store on March 23 and 24
  • The Final Two will be determined by tasting votes in store on March 30
  • The winner will be chosen by tasting votes in store on March 31 and announced on April 3rd with the winner.

Here's what you can win:

  • A foodie collection of gourmet foods (some not even in store yet!) 
  • Cheesemongers selection of delicious cheese
  • Curds&Co Cheese Vault
  • A free pass for one of our Cheese Centered or Wine Centered classes. (must redeem in store)

Meet the Maker-Walter Niklaus

WalterNiklaus.jpg

a man and his treasures

Meet Walter Niklaus, the cheesemaker

Part three of our Adopt-an-Alp adventure is a little bit about who makes the cheese and his team.

Walter Niklaus makes Alp Maran cheese, other cheeses, and butter as part of an award-winning team in Switzerland. 

Niklaus trained as a master cheesemaker and has been the head of the dairy Maran for just short of a decade and his time and patience with shows with the beautiful cheese he's made and the awards he's won. Most recently his Alp Maran cheese won Best in Show!

The dairy belongs to the community of Chur and the Farmers' Cooperative Chur is responsible for running the dairy. Niklaus works for them--at 1850+m above sea level.

Niklaus appreciates the ability to sell cheese directly to the nearby hotel and restaurant and also is able to export around 150 wheels of cheese to curd fans here in the states--including the 4 wheels of the Best in Show cheese that are coming here to Curds & Co.

So get ready to yodel and eat alp cheese--the next step in our adventure is our party, and you're all invited. Stay tuned for details!

Swiss and cheese,

the curds&co crew

 

Where for art thou, Alp Maran?

alpMaran with cows.jpg

Where in the world ... 

is Alp Maran?

In our last Adopt-an-Alp blog post, I promised to share where this lovely cheese heaven is located so we put together a short video for you.

I'm not sure there is a more beautiful place to eat grass and make milk but if I were a cow, this is where I'd like to be.

In our next blog, we'll not only tell you a little bit about the cheesemaker, but also about his obsession with holes. We'll also be telling you about a very, very special celebration we'll be having that you can join us for that will include a little Swiss fun, a wedge of our Maran Raclette, delicious pairings and fun tools you can use for eating it. There will be a limited number of tickets available for this event since our cheese supply is limited, so stay tuned!

Cowbells,

the curds&co. crew

 

Adopt an Alp is here!

weide.jpeg

We've adopted an Alp!

Eh, a what??

Have you ever heard of Alp style cheese? 

Alpine cheese is quite simply cheese that is made in the Alps (Mountains). The cheesemakers take the cows up into the mountains during the summer months where the cows happily eat the beautiful grass and flowers that are grown during this short time. The practice is called transhumance and it involves the movement of people and animals according to the season. It can be a quiet solitary time up in the mountains milking the cows and making the cheese but it has been going on for centuries--and we get to benefit from the tasty creations made lovingly by the cheesemakers.

In support of these delicious cheeses we are participating in the Adopt an Alp program to help get more people to understand the tradition of Alpine cheese and get more people tasting the delicious wheels!

Curds and Co. has adopted Alp Maran which means we'll be sharing more information on them over the coming weeks both in store and online. We'll also be celebrating the arrival of 4 reserved wheels just for you, our customers. Stay tuned to find out more about our cheese and how you can reserve your own wedge of wonder.

In our next Adopt an Alp blog we'll be telling you more about where exactly our Alp is! Get your maps ready! 

raclette and fondue,

Jenn and the curds&co crew

Kicking Things Off

Welcome to our little piece of cheese heaven. We're excited to have you read our blog, come to our classes, and of course, visit our shop. We'll be using this blog to give you all sorts of interesting information. I hope you'll excuse us if we don't use it as a traditional marketing tool. We are here to teach you about cheese in a friendly and tasty way and we think that will speak for itself. So here you'll find interesting things we want to share with you, stories we've heard and more about what we're working on. 

We'll be back tracking shortly with some fun pictures and video of how this place came into being. We hope you'll enjoy seeing how we got here--but we'll also show you where we're headed. 

Stay tuned and thanks for the warm welcome!

Jenn