BEST CHEESE SELECTION - 2000
Thank God for monks. Along with their other frugal toils (prayer, bird feeding, and the like) we must also credit the monastic brothers of old with civilizing cheese. Sure, Charlemagne loved his bloomy Bries, and Remus suckled on wolf's-teat fontinas, but it was berobed medieval men leading lives of quiet contemplation who established as holy the marriage of milk and time. The good people at Surdyk's understand this, on some divine level. Their smartly stocked cases are a testament to years' worth of study, selectivity, and plain right-mindedness about cheese. Thousands of wheels, loaves, braids, and globes in hundreds of varieties arrive from the world's four corners and pass through Surdyk's doors every year, ripe and ripening, curdled, spiced, carved, cured, blessed. Green-veined and moldy as gym socks? A young-grass French-cut delicate as a midsummer night's breeze? The Spanish Manchego Don Quixote described as "harder than if it had been made out of sand and lime"? An American artisan's sheep's-milk humdinger with just a whiff of herbs? A little doozy with a bunch of holes and an umlaut? Name your pleasure, this almighty cheese outpost probably has it, along with savvy recommendations for accompanying beverages, which can be found in Surdyk's adjoining liquor store.