One of my favorite food experiences is taking a bite from a cheese curd. Sure, they’re small. I, however, stretch the pleasure into two bites of those odd shapes, the result of coagulating casein protein in milk and the separation of the milk into solid curds and liquid whey. Curds are part of the cheesemaking process and they can be salted, shaped and ripened into other cheeses or simply enjoyed in their nascent form. As a Wisconsin native and proud cheesehead, I’ve also got a reason to celebrate my snack on Oct. 15, which is National Cheese Curd Day.
Straight up or deep-fried, these little nubs of squeakiness pair well with Wisconsin fish, washed down with a beverage of choice. (Did someone suggest a brandy old fashioned?) Throw in some coleslaw or a relish plate and that’s a quintessential Badger State meal.
Move over, Chicago hot dogs. Step aside, Kansas City spareribs. Stand down, New York City cheesecake. This is the real deal. A few years back, the Food Network proved cheese curds’ popularity by surveying the nation for its finest curds outside of America’s Dairyland. The resulting online homage reached from coast to coast and dipped into southern reaches—Florida and Austin, Texas—where the sides are more typically of the grits or hushpuppy variety.
Even foodies have taken notice. A case is point is Bud and Marilyn’s in Philadelphia, a trendy restaurant with curds on the menu, but alas, lacking a good walleye entree. Have no fear, though, and check out our recipes at Eat Wisconsin Fish. Those cheese curds will become the perfect accompaniment to whitefish, trout or salmon to munch away on all day on Oct. 15, or any other day of the year, for that matter.