Urban Dictionary has coined the term “sprummer” to describe this strange, yet favorable spring/summer weather we’ve been experiencing since early March. Minnesotans, perhaps better than anyone else, can appreciate this little (okay, monumental) gift Mother Nature has bestowed upon us. From the moment the fear of the seemingly requisite March blizzard subsided, many of us have embraced the early summer weather with grilling. Grilling in these parts is so much more than a simple means of getting dinner on the table; rather, grilling is a pastime—a social affair that brings together families, friends, and neighbors. It is the perfect activity for our warm spring, presenting us with the opportunity to reconnect with one another and with the outdoors after months of winter hibernation.
Surdyk’s Cheese Shop staffers love to entertain, but after a long day of cooking food and cutting cheese, we’re always on the lookout for something simple and effortlessly sophisticated. Enter the pizza party. Artisan pizza concepts have been popping up just about everywhere these days, and for good reason. Who doesn’t love pizza? Nothing seems more satisfying than a hot slice and a cold beer, but if you’ve ever tried to get a table at a place like Pizzeria Lola on a sunny spring evening, you’ll understand what I mean when I say this casual meal can be hard to come by lately. I sometimes find myself waiting for a table and thinking, “Gee, I could make my own pizza in the time it takes for me to get seated at this restaurant.”
Here’s a better plan: Fire up the grill. Invite your friends. Throw a pizza party! Pizza dough can be a frustrating process for those who don’t have time and expert baking experience on our side. This is exactly why we make and sell it in the Cheese Shop. After testing what felt like 100s of recipes, we’ve found our perfect pizza dough. Made with organic flour, extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt, our dough is delicious, inexpensive, and ready for you to take home every day. (Hint: It also keeps well in the freezer!) Roll it out, brush some oil on the grill, and bravely toss your dough over the fire. It couldn’t be easier. Flip it over and add your favorite toppings. Did I mention Surdyk’s Cheese Shop is a veritable mecca for pizza toppings? Try cheeses like Bufala Mozzarella, Fresh Ricotta, Donnay Chèvre, Fontina Val d’Aosta, and more. Meat? Biellese Hot Sopressata, La Quercia Prosciutto. Or doesn’t Palacios Chorizo sound tempting? We’ve also got plenty of San Marzano tomatoes, an impressive selection of olives from around the world, and even more creative toppings like dried figs, Spanish piparras peppers, and fancy caper berries. Let your guests design their own perfect pizzas and be sure to keep the drinks flowing.
While we’re on the subject, what to drink? Wine and beer are obvious choices; serve what you like and don’t worry about perfect pairings. The idea is to have fun, after all. I love to relax with a light cocktail on a warm evening. The Aperol Spritz—a memory of lazy afternoons spent at sunny cafés in Italy—is a favorite at my house. Aperol is an aperitif similar to, but lighter than Campari. The Spritz is summery, sprightly, and so easy to make: one part Aperol plus two parts bubbly Prosecco topped off with sparkling water. Serve it over ice with a slice of orange if you’d like, and keep an eye on the grill. Your friends will think you’re an entertaining virtuoso, and there’s no need to let them in on your secrets. Buon Appetito!
For more simple summer entertaining ideas, check out our daily updates on Twitter, @SurdyksCheese. -Emily Dunne