Yes, the cheese does stand alone! In our opinion, there really is no better gift than cheese. What cook among us would not love to be the recipient of a beautiful two-pound wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano or a kilo of truffled Pecorino? What about a round of aromatic Camembert or chèvre for the Francophile? For those far (or near), Surdyk’s Cheese of the Month Club is available in three subscription options: three, six or 12 months. Each month we choose three seasonally appropriate cheeses; a special accompaniment such as a local honey, preserve or chutney; biscuits or crackers; and a lovely letter with a story of each cheese. We’ve been offering our Cheese of the Month Club for several years, and they are so loved and appreciated that many of our customers give them as gifts again and again.
Another idea for your cheese loving family and friends—one you can partake in with them—is a ticket to one of our many cheese classes. Examples of popular classes include: Stinky Cheeses and the Wines that Love Them, American Craft Cheeses, and Home Town Heroes—Local Beer and Cheese. Classes are held throughout the year; this winter we have two cheese class offerings: Bubbly and Cheese, from Modest to Majestic and The World of Cheese – an excellent intro to the basics of fine cheeses.
If you’re looking for just a little bit more to give, we have a lineup of holiday crates, boxes and baskets. Our classic wine and cheese crate includes three cheeses paired with both a red and white wine, a beautiful fruit and nut cake, Italian chocolate, nuts, Potters Herb de Provence crackers, red fig jam from Provence, and buttery shortbread. We’ve got a beer box for your beer-loving sib, or a party crate, chock-full of cheeses, salami, biscuits, crackers and treats for a crowd—perfect for the office crew. Check our gift basket page for photos of our gift baskets, boxes and crates, along with details for ordering online.
During the hot summer, cooking is all about the sizzle; come winter, it’s all about the sauce. We find ourselves cooking those larger cuts of meat with red wine, garlic, tomato, peppercorns, bay leaves and maybe a touch of chili. Here at Surdyk’s we do the same, and more and more, I look for the lesser-used cuts: Shoulder, neck, cheek and shank all make wonderful, flavorful, delicious soups, stews and braises. Some of the best tricks, or trucs, of a good cook include knowing how to get the most flavor and body into the sauce. Having a good, solid stock, whether poultry, beef or vegetable, is the most important base on which to start your sauce. We frequently have Parmigiano and Prosciutto rinds for sale. Pop one into your broth or braising liquid (just remember to discard before serving). You will be pleasantly surprised by the added depth and flavor you will create from this one small step. A few ingredients to keep on hand in your pantry that will add that umami to a broth or sauce are Colatura (my favorite), an Italian fish sauce of sorts made with anchovies—a drop or two added to a sauce or broth works every time; alternately, a good Asian fish sauce like Red Boat works in a pinch, too. Smoked Pimenton (Spanish paprika) can add a touch of smoky depth, a good AOC Espelette chili—a light touch of heat. We have many great sea salts, Himalayan pink salt, black volcanic, sel gris, fleur de sel and more, but one I like to have on hand always is Maldon’s sea salt flakes from Great Britain. It’s what we call a finishing salt; a light touch just before serving will perk up your palate.
Keep warm and cook on!
– Mary Richter, Surdyk’s Culinary Director