OK, I’m not really sure who decides, but word on the street is that April is National Grilled Cheese Month. This doesn’t matter a whole lot at Surdyk’s Cheese Shop, where every day happens to be a grilled cheese day (see what we’re serving up today), but I welcome this official proclamation with great enthusiasm. It gives me a chance to wax poetic on one of my very favorite meals.
Really, what could be better than a grilled cheese sandwich? At its essence, it is the perfect formula for comfort food: bread plus cheese, toasted to gooey, melty perfection. For many, grilled cheese holds a place in our childhood memories right alongside boxed mac and cheese and mom’s lasagna. While our tastes may have evolved—Kraft Singles give me nightmares—there is still much satisfaction to be found in this nostalgic meal. Grilled cheese is the first thing I reach for after a night of too much fun.
In my opinion, nothing tops a classic grilled cheese: melted cheddar on buttery, grilled white bread. I like mine with a bit of Sriracha or grainy Dijon mustard, while some—and this is a truly unpardonable crime at my house—go for a side of ketchup. Whatever your preference, grilled cheese is brilliant because it is so adaptable, a bona fide blank canvas for any number of culinary whims.
When building the perfect grilled cheese, you’ve got to start somewhere. What better than the very foundation of the sandwich, the bread? For me, it’s gotta be Rustica. Plain and simple. We’ve been carrying fresh-baked Rustica breads at Surdyk’s since they were a tiny operation in South Minneapolis, and we’re happy to see them grow to become one of the most respected artisan bread makers in the Twin Cities. Whether you choose the dark, dense Miche or my personal favorite, the crusty, triple-fermented sourdough Levain, you’re off to a good start.
Now for the really fun part, the cheese. If you’re a foodie in the know, you’re probably well aware that our pocket-sized store offers more than 300 different cheeses from around the world, cut to order by knowledgable cheesemongers who’ll gladly talk your ear off suggesting their favorites. They’ll even help you find a cheese (or two) that boasts exceptional melting qualities perfect for your grilled cheese. Some of my favorite melters: Taleggio Pasturo, Vacherin Fribourgeois, Marieke Gouda, Iberico, and Tomme de Chèvre. You may want to get really fancy with your grilled cheese; we’ve got plenty of choices. Thin slices of salty, smoky Westphalian ham, a touch of sweet-and-tangy Fig Mostarda from Italy, or perhaps a spicy McClure’s pickle will do it. We’ve even got a well-curated selection of butters, local and European, to give the perfect golden hue to your bread. Thank god for one-stop shopping.
Inspired? Or just hungry? You’ve still got two weeks to celebrate. Happy National Grilled Cheese Month! – Emily Dunne