Behold the cheese curd. So fresh and springy, so cute and squeaky. It's no wonder that for Wisconsinites, a day without curds is like a day without sunshine.
These little bites of goodness are the freshest cheese you can find. Straight from the first stage of cheesemaking – where curds kiss the whey goodbye – these adorable squeakers have a short shelf life and are best enjoyed on the day they are born.
The nice thing about Wisconsin cheese curds: they make everybody happy. From the pickiest toddlers to the cheese aficionados, the joy of cheese curds is the one thing everyone at the party can agree on. So, squeak on, little curds: here's to your short and delicious life.
The real question is: what doesn't go well with curds?
That's the real beauty of Wisconsin cheese curds: there's no wrong way to eat them. Batter and fry them, toss them in a pasta salad, or smother them in gravy and throw them over fries like they do up north (like way up north…like north of Wisconsin even…like…Canada). Of course, you can always enjoy them the way our Wisconsin cheesemakers made them: plain and squeaky clean.
When it comes to beer, curds aren't picky. A frosty pilsner? Sure. A pint of pale ale? That'll do – the more the better. Curds aren't really into fine wine, but they won't stop you from quaffing your favorite red or white while popping a plate of curds in your mouth.
Curds are small bits of curdled milk that are the product of the first stage of cheesemaking. Curds have a mild flavor and a rubbery texture that produces a squeak as they are eaten. Plain curds and fried cheese curds are highly popular options for serving.
Curds are created when an additive like rennet is introduced into milk, causing the liquid to acidify and coagulate. After the milk is heated to separate the solid curds from the liquid whey, curds are usually "cheddared" – a process where the cheese is cut into blocks, then stacked and turned repeatedly to release moisture. After the blocks are cut into small pieces, the curds are salted to help keep their moisture.
Fresh curds produce an audible squeak when they are bitten into – the result of air being released from the porous milk protein structure within fresh curds. The contact of teeth against the wet rubbery texture of curds creates an audible vibration or squeak.
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Nobody knows for sure, but we like to think curds got their start in Wisconsin. It's the only decent explanation for why Wisconsinites are so crazy for curds and why we crave this delicious bite of fried cheese whenever we leave.
Curds are a part of everyday life here, just one more spectacular contribution from a state that produces more flavors and varieties of cheese than any other place in the world. And while are cheesemakers are usually all business (we're the only state where you need a license to make cheese, and we have the only Master Cheesemakers program in the world outside of Switzerland) with curds, it's really all about the joy.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.