SPONSORED Is it finally safe to say spring has sprung? It's been one heck of a long winter. Here's some good news: whether we get another (seemingly inevitable) snowstorm or not, spring cuisine has arrived, and it's definitely here to stay. And thank goodness, because I really don't know how many more braised, roasted, or pickled things I can stand to eat. This is the time of year when freshness is key. We may have to wait a bit for asparagus, peas, and ramps to fill the produce aisles, but at Surdyk's we've got an arsenal of spring cheeses in our case that are light, bright, ripe, and ready to go.
Thistle rennet cheeses are always at the top of my list when the temperatures rise and the sun finally comes out. At Surdyk's we currently carry four amazing cheeses that fall into this rare but splendid category: Casa Lusa, Azeitao, Lou Bergier Pichon, and Castelinhos. They are unique because unlike most cheeses derived from animal or microbial rennet, the thistle adds a discernible flavor to the finished product. Herbaceous, grassy, vegetal, even slightly (but delightfully) bitter, these cheeses have a clean, fresh pungency that, to me, screams spring. They are soft, sometimes oozy in texture, and, best yet, they pair astonishingly well with just about any of your favorite cheese accompaniments. If you’ve had it with the hefty stench of winter’s alpine cheeses, give one of these light cheeses a try. I like to pair them with an aperitif that complements their herbal bitterness like Campari or Fernet Branca, but feel free to experiment with wine, too. Thistle rennet cheeses are like a breath of fresh air; one taste and you just might forget winter ever happened. Happy Spring and Bon Appétit! -Emily Dunne, @surdykscheese