My anticipation of cherry season can be likened to a child awaiting Santa Claus: wide-eyed with excitement. I sometimes jump the gun by grabbing the first Bings of the season, only to find them bland, uninteresting, and hard as rocks. So, recently, at my local market, Bi-Rite in San Francisco, I held back from grabbing all the cherries I could fit into my bag until I realized they weren’t Bings at all, but Burlats. This lesser-known variety is European in origin but pretty similar to the Bing, with one major advantage: It ripens weeks earlier. While some Chowhounds lament the Burlats—it’s true, they do spoil pretty quickly—here in the test kitchen we’ve been using them in everything from pies to pork chops, and couldn’t be happier.