Jan 8
2009

Utah Knows Cheese

in Culinary Adventurism, Product Reviews

Continuing on a bit with my Utah laundry list, I have to tell you about Cache Valley Cheese curds.

This particular item makes the top of Mr. Fuji’s laundry list because he absolutely adores cheese curds. In fact cheese curds may rank above me in the big scheme of things. That’s okay, at least I know where I stand! Because we drove to Utah and back, we passed through many a little town on the long haul up and down I-15. One of those little towns is Beaver, Utah (population was 2,454 in the 2000 census). Two facts have put Beaver on the map for us (besides the fact that we see it when we drive through it):

Fact #1: Beaver is the birthplace of Butch Cassidy

Fact #2: Beaver is the home of Cache Valley Cheese

It is tradition for us to stop at Cache Valley Cheese whenever we happen to be passing through Beaver during business hours because they sell fresh cheese curds. Now, for those of you who don’t know what cheese curds are, you are missing out!
Cheese curd is the result of curdling milk with rennet or an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar, and then draining off the liquid portion (aka, the whey). This might not sound very yummy, but it is! Cheese curds also have the unique characteristic of squeaking when you chew them (if they’re fresh). In an article about cheese curds in the New York Times, Louisa Kamps describes this squeaky phenomenon as resembling “balloons trying to neck.” Part of why buying fresh cheese curds at Cache Valley is so special is that cheese curds are at their freshest for less than 12 hours. They are still completely edible after that, but they lose a lot of their squeak and flavor.

Mr. Fuji was like a little boy in a candy store on this visit. He asked me how many bags we should get and I told him to get however many he wanted. He then proceeded to plop down SIX bags of curds onto the counter–5 bags of the regular cheddar curds and 1 bag of jalapeno cheddar curds for me (sweet and thoughtful guy, ‘aint he?). At least the next time I go on a chocolate binge I can remind him of this trip . . . .
He also bought a tootsie pop to appease Squirrel during the next leg of our trip and we piled back into our car.
We gave Squirrel her lolly which she gleefully began to enjoy and we cracked open a bag of curds.

I handed a curd over to Squirrel and she took it, but initially didn’t take her lolly out of her mouth. When she finally did and gave her curd a taste, she abandoned the lolly and began asking for more curds.

Smart girl knows a good thing when she tastes it! I’m embarrassed to admit that we consumed an entire bag of curds before reaching home. Hey, we wanted to eat them while they were still truly fresh, okay?

Coming Friday: A little gift from Cousin Jack

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }



K and S January 8, 2009 at 5:26 am

never tried cheese curds, but they sound great!

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AlanaMarie January 8, 2009 at 6:40 am

I am so infinitely jealous! i love squeaky cheese! it’s been years since i’ve had it. and i miss it so much, i like white curd warmed up on crackers! mmmm how i miss those Wyoming/Utah/Idaho summer vacations of my youth!!

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Kelly January 8, 2009 at 8:11 am

Hi Fuji Mama!

Hope your pregnancy is going along ok :)

I wanted to ask a question. Say you bought cheese curd in bulk like you did, could you freeze it and defrost it? Or do you have to eat it within a week or something? If you wanted to preserve the “squeak” could you do that by freezing?

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Bob January 8, 2009 at 10:27 am

Can’t say as I’ve ever had cheese curds, but they look like something I would enjoy. And I have to say, squirrel is just adorable. She looks like one of the kids my mom watched back when I was a teenager. :)

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Bekah January 8, 2009 at 11:24 am

I heart squeaky cheese. There are several cheese factories on the Oregon Coast. My mom took us when we were on vacations. Great memories!

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Fuji Mama January 8, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Kelly– I’m not big on freezing dairy products (except for butter!) as I find the texture and flavor really changes. Though I do occasionally grate ceese and freeze it to use in soups. Microwaving curds for a few seconds can restore the squeak, but this is a distant second to getting the curds fresh from the factory. Curds can be eaten up to a week after they are made, they just aren’t quite as good!

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Marcia January 8, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Rachel, Eileen forwarded this article to me, probably because we now live in Cache Valley. Russ Thompson told us about cheese curds from Beaver, and several years ago we stopped to get some.
There’s a big cheese company in Logan started by some Swiss folk, and that’s where we buy cheese curd now. Your article was fun to read….

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Fuji Mama January 8, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Marcia– Oooh lucky you! If we get out to Logan I’ll have to remember that and go try their curds!

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gleek January 8, 2009 at 7:20 pm

hmmmm, i’ve never had cheese curds before and never knew that i was missing out! :)

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Angie January 8, 2009 at 10:14 pm

As a Wisconsinite, I’m a fan of cheese curds. Sometimes the squeak can be revived by a moment or two in the microwave. If the curds stay a bit too long in the ‘wave, I like to eat them with midget dills and saltines.

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Angie January 8, 2009 at 11:26 pm

Hmmm…. I see you have another “Angie” among your fans. Here in Minnesota, cheese curds are a big deal too. At the State Fair and at county and local fairs, you can buy deep-fried cheese curds, accompanied by a special dipping sauce. They are wonderful! By the way, if your curds don’t squeak, let them warm up to room temperature before eating them.

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Shari@Whisk: a food blog January 9, 2009 at 11:29 am

I love my cheese curds on poutine the best!!

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Christina January 9, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Oh how I LOVE cheese curds! Darn you :) Now I want some.

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Leigh January 9, 2009 at 2:26 pm

I love Squirrel’s hat!

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Joie de vivre January 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm

6 bags of curds. That is too funny!

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LollyChops January 9, 2009 at 9:12 pm

I have heard about these before (never knew they squeaked when fresh though).. and have always wanted to try them. I think it’s hysterical that Squirrel dug them too.. but she gave up a Lolly for them.. that almost makes me sad.

HUGS!

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Fuji Mama January 10, 2009 at 10:30 am

Thanks Leigh! I made it for her last week, so I like it too! :-)

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Misha January 10, 2009 at 1:56 pm

I LOVE cheese curds!!! Funny thing is, John who is Mr. cheese, will not eat them! Man is he missing out!!!

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whitney January 23, 2009 at 11:54 am

Hi, I popped over from Lollychops. I have to laugh because I adore cheese curds and no one understands my obsession with “sqeaky cheese” until after they have tried it. I love this post.

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Brochure Printing October 2, 2009 at 8:44 pm

I'm not sure, but it kinda looks like the cheese that me and my mom have been searching for. We don't know what that was called, and all we know is that it has a very different texture and taste… then again, I think it's made with goat milk. Enk! My memory is a big failure. :D

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