Getting Back to Basics

Back to Basics - Ricotta Salata Recipe

ricotta salata with pimentonHere is a Blue Ribbon recipe for you to try this year!  Ricotta salata is a pressed, salted wheel of ricotta that has a fresh flavor and firm texture. It's great on salads, or on braised greens.  It's super easy to make, but quite impressive to give as host gifts or bring to potlucks!
What you need*
  • 1/2 gallon milk -- whole milk works best; pasteurized milk from the grocery store is fine, just avoid ULTRA-pasteurized
  • 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup filtered water 
  • Colander 
  • Large non-reactive pot -- stainless steel is better than aluminum 
  • Fine cheesecloth/butter muslin
  • Slotted spoon or skimmer 
  • Ricotta basket (you might want to have 2 of the same size for pressing) 
  • Cheese salt 
  • Smoked paprika (pimenton; optional) 
Put the milk into the pot and add the dissolved citric acid. Heat the milk with direct heat to about 185° F; you should see the milk form fluffy white curds that float in the liquid whey. If you don't see the curds separating cleanly, add another dose of 1/2 tsp citric acid, the curds should instantly separate after this addition. Stop stirring at this point and turn off the heat. Put the cheesecloth in the colander in a sink or large bowl and carefully ladle the curds with the slotted spoon or skimmer into the cheesecloth. If you want to pour the curds into the cheesecloth, pour very slowly and make sure you have a very fine cheesecloth, or all of the curds will pour through. Tie the ends of the cheesecloth together and hang the ricotta for about 30 minutes to drain. 
Take the ricotta out of the cheesecloth and put it in a large bowl. Add 1/2 Tbsp cheese salt and mix thoroughly. Press the curds into a ricotta basket and put another empty basket on top with a jar of water or large soup can as a weight to press the cheese; press at room temperature for 1 hour. Remove the cheese from the mold and flip it over, then press with the weight on top at room temperature overnight. 
The next morning take the cheese out of the mold and lightly sprinkle the surface evenly with cheese salt, as well as smoked paprika/pimenton if desired. Place the cheese back in the mold and move to the refrigerator. Turn the cheese every day for one week, lightly salting extra days if desired. Keep the cheese uncovered unless it starts to dry out too much, then lightly cover it with plastic wrap (do not wrap tightly, the cheese should dry out a little bit during this time). 
The cheese is ready to eat after one week, and can be aged for up to 4 weeks. If any undesired mold appears on the cheese, rub it off with a clean towel and some salt. You should get about 1/2 pound of cheese.
* Most ingredients are in our Mozzarella and Ricotta kit along with this recipe as well as others!


Curds and Wine will be CLOSED most Sundays in April:

  • Sunday April 14
  • Sunday April 21
  • Sunday April 28
Happy Holidays 2019 December
NINE Year Anniversary! November
Fresh Grape Delivery by West Coast Grapes Saturday October 19th October
Harvest 2019 September
The Calm Before Harvest August
Special Winexpert Summer Release Wines July
Queso Diego's 'Say Cheese' Contest at the San Diego County Fair June
Cheese Expo 2019 May
Getting Back to Basics April
Homemade Wine Contest at the San Diego County Fair March
For Your Special ValenWINE February
Cheers to 2019! January


Queso Diego's "Say Cheese" Contest at the San Diego County Fair

Queso Diego LogoQueso Diego is once again sponsoring the 'Say Cheese' Homemade Cheese contest this year at the San Diego County Fair!  This contest will once again be a One-Day Home & Hobby Contest, no pre-registration or entry fees are required. Bring your prepared item and the typed or printed recipe form found online here. We will no longer accept other types of recipe forms. No exceptions! Deliver entries between opening time of the Fair and 12:45pm on Saturday June 1st to Home & Hobby exhibit located on the 2nd floor, west end of the Grandstand. Judging starts at 1:00pm and once the judging process starts, no late entries will be accepted. Your entry and entry contest form will admit you into the Fair for FREE. Exhibitors must personally deliver their entries.

Limit: One entry per class 
Judging Criteria: Flavor, Originality, & Appearance 

1 Fresh – (ex. Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chèvre, Queso fresco, Cottage cheese, Farmer's cheese, cheese curds)
2 Flavored soft- (ex. herbed/spiced Chévre, Ricotta, Mascarpone, etc.,) 
3 Flavored semi-hard/hard – (ex. sage Cheddar, caraway Gouda, saffron Manchego, aged Cabra al vino) 
4 Brined – (ex. Feta, Halloumi) 
5 Bloomy - any milk type - (ex. Camembert, Brie, double/triple crème, Bloomy goat, Valencay (please specify milk) 
6 Blue Mold - blue cheeses (any style with significant blue mold character) 
7 Semi-Soft/Washed Rind – (Munster, young Gouda, any washed rind cheese (please specify wash) 
8 Hard & American Style – (ex. Cheddar, aged Gouda, 'American Original’s': Colby, Jack, etc.; long- aged Pecorino, Parmesan, etc.) 
9 Other – smoked or unique style cheeses (e.g., Gjetost)

- 1st Place: Prize worth $40 
- 2nd Place: Prize worth $20 
- 3rd Place: Prize worth $15 
- Best of Show: Prize worth $75


California State Fair Home Wine Competition

The California State Fair Home Wine Competition supports and promotes winemaking as a home craft and is designed to increase the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the amateur winemaker. The competition provides an opportunity for these wines to be judged in an organized and professional manner while delivering impartial evaluation feedback, and to recognize the talent of the successful home winemaker.
Key dates:
March 18 - Entries Open 
March 25 - Drop off and Ship to sites OPEN 
April 26 - Entries Close 
April 26 - Final Delivery Drop off and Ship to sites CLOSED 
May 18 - Judging Date 
June 15 - Awards Ceremony
You will be notified by email if you win an award, you will need to fill out the award order form to get your ribbon sent to you, it is not automatic. The ribbons are definitely quite impressive!
If you bring your entries ready to ship with paperwork to the shop BEFORE noon on Sunday 4/7 we will ship your entries - after that date you are on your own!  Please let us know if you would like for us to ship your wines.
If you are entering a dessert wine, please note - you are required to enter 750 mL of wine, either in one full bottle or 2-375 mL bottles


Orange County Fair Home Wine Competition - Entries Due May 27

OCWineSocietyLogoThe Orange County Wine Society, in conjunction with the OC Fair, has sponsored the OC Fair Home Wine Competition since 1976. This competition is open to all amateur home winemakers in California. It is one of the largest amateur home wine competitions in the USA. The judging is double blind and the scoring is based on a modified UC Davis 20 point scale. To ensure continuity in the valuation and scoring of the wines, they hold judging workshops prior to each year’s competition. 
The winemakers who enter the competition do so not just for the bragging rights of the awards but also to get feedback from the judges. Judges have some discretion. Some wines have faults and some do not. If a judge marks a wine lower for a characteristic that can be corrected, the winemaker can then make an adjustment to his/her wine prior to finishing and bottling. That is probably the most valuable feedback for the competition entrants. 
The competition is held in early June, entries are due in by May 27, 2019. Four Best of Show awards (for Red, White, Fruit and Dessert Wines) are announced the day of the competition with the remaining awards posted the next day. The ribbons (and sometimes medals) are mailed about 4-6 weeks later. 
Curds and Wine is a drop-off site if you choose to have your wines shipped when you register them. Please have entries to be shipped dropped off by Wednesday May 22nd


Limited Quantity Island Mist - Peach Bellini and Mango Mai Tai

Bellini MaiTaiVery limited quantities are available for these super-tasty summer sippers!
Mango Mai Tai has flavors of mango, lime, pineapple and orange with rum and amaretto undertones.  Peach Bellini has juicy ripe peach, with a hint of Prosecco and rum flavors.  Both are available in limited quantites at Curds and Wine for $72.95 each.


Cheese Expo 2019 at The Brick in Liberty Station Sunday May 19

Bringing together a curated list of Top Cheesemakers and San Diego top breweries, coffee roasters, distillers, kombucha and cider makers, this one day Cheese Expo features unique one-off collaborations, educational presentations, demonstrations, and explorations with Cheesmakers from across America and some of our own, home-grown Liquid talents. 
The list of cheesemakers and distributors include: Beehive (Utah), Jasper Hill Farms (Vermont), Columbia (New York), Gruyere 1655 (Switzerland), Spring Brook (Vermont), Valley Ford (Northern California), Di Stefano (Los Angeles), Hook’s (Wisconsin), Central Coast (Paso Robles), and Cheesesmith (San Diego), Cypress Grove (Northern California), Venissimo Raclette Bar (San Diego), Isigny (France), Point Reyes Farmstead (Northern California) and Laura Chenel (Northern California). 
Liquid Creators include: Boochcraft (Hard Kombucha), Fall Brewing (Beer), Mostra (Coffee), Modern Times (Beer), Pure Project (Beer), Societe (Beer), Alesmith (Beer), and Bivouac Ciderworks (Cider), and Raging Cider & Meads (Valley Center). 
Curds and Wine will also be participating! 
There will be an educational program including: Rachel Dutton Labs, Erik Fowler of White Labs, and Morgan Tenwick of Modern Times, and many more. In addition there will be an outdoor petting zoo with "Zookeeper" Jack Ford of TAJ Farms! 
More vendors and speakers will be added as they are confirmed.
Sun, May 19, 2019 1:30 PM – 6:00 PM
@ The Brick 2863 Historic Decatur Road San Diego, CA 92106
General Admission or VIP tickets are available, with special Early Bird pricing for tickets purchased before April 15More information and links to purchase tickets are online here.


RJ Spagnols Restricted Quantity Wines for 2019

RJ Spagnols presents the Four Fugitives Restricted Quantity Wine Kits for 2019 release.  Intense, masterful, defiant or smooth—whatever the preference, there’s a tale in every wine. A wine for every tale, and a fugitive for every cellar... four notoriously great ones.

Capture all four of these wines:


​Chile Cabernet Merlot Syrah (January 2019)  $174.95 - SOLD OUT!

Revel in layer upon layer of surprise in this Chilean Cabernet Merlot Syrah. Enticing hints of smoke and luscious qualities are intricately woven into this wine’s darkly exotic character.

​Australia Chardonnay Semillon (February 2019) $154.95 

This wine’s balanced, easy-going relationship of subtlety and freshness harmonize with the complexities of its unwitting armour-wielding fugitive.

​Italy Nebbiolo (March 2019) $174.95 - SOLD OUT!

A unified transparency and delicate appeal that collaborates well with its robust and hearty counterparts. These are the true markers of both a leader and a great wine!

​Spain Monastrell (April 2019) $174.95 - SOLD OUT!

Like Navarro’s harrowing wildly juicy tales, this wine will entrance and entice the palate with a voluptuous headiness and earthy appeal that will have your glasses raised!


We will contact you if you preordered wines when they arrive at Curds and Wine.  Contact us to check availability of these wines - limited quantities were ordered, if you did not preorder already they could sell out!






The parking lot by the front door of Curds and Wine is often pretty full lately, we wanted to remind everyone that there is more parking at the North side of the building (farthest from Clairemont Mesa) and you can come in the back door from those parking spots.  Bonus - no stairs at the back door!