Before today I had never had a cheese curd. The word "curd" just doesn't sound exactly appetizing, does it? At the cheese counter of my favorite grocery store there they were and they piqued my interest. I thought of little miss muffet and all of that. The cheese lady saw me eyeing them and asked if I'd like to try them.
They are wonderful! I mean, really wonderful! I bought horseradish flavored ones and they are my newest favorite thing.
Here's an article about cheese curds from Wikipedia:
Cheese curds are the fresh curds of cheddar cheese. They are generally available in retail stores operated at cheese factories in Wisconsin (and perhaps in other dairy states) and throughout the province of Quebec in Canada.
They are little-known elsewhere, because they must be eaten absolutely fresh, within hours of manufacture. After twelve hours, even under refrigeration, they have lost much of their "fresh curd" characteristics, particularly the "squeak." After twenty-four hours, they have lost them entirely. They have not become unwholesome or distasteful, but they are not fresh cheese curds any more—they are just boring, insufficiently aged cheese. No ordinary shipping method is sufficiently fast to preserve their flavor intact.
Fresh curds are roughly the size and shape of peanuts or, perhaps, Cheetos. The flavor is a mild, delicious, "fresh-dairy" taste. The texture and mouth feel is unique. They have about the same firmness as cheese, but have a springy or rubbery texture, rather than the yielding, clay-like texture of cheese. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into. This squeak is perhaps the defining characteristic of fresh cheese curds. They are somewhat salty and have the same addictive, greed-inspiring charactistics as other salty snacks, although they are cool and moist rather than being dry and crunchy.
Now, I do not live in a dairy state. But these cheese curds that I have are definitely fresh and squeaky. I think it's because Wegmans is such a terrific grocery store. The manufacturer is Yancey's Fancy Specialty Cheeses. If you can find them at your store, I hope you'll give them a try.