How Do You Like Them Apple Ciders? Your Guide to Pairing Cider & Cheese

By John David Ryan

It’s October in New York which means people are wearing scarves, putting pumpkin in everything, talking about how they wish they were in Vermont, and drinking hard cider. It’s a Northeastern US thing. Or maybe it’s a “we try to be chic like the French” thing. Either way: few things inspire the foodie palate like cider in the fall. But when it comes to pairing hard cider, you might find the task a bit more challenging. There are more obvious differences between a German pilsner and a roasty coffee stout ale than there is between a Normandy brut and Asturian cider. But fear not! Pairing cider and cheese might be easier than you think.

If it grows together, it goes together. In other words: if there’s a region famous for a specific cider and it also makes specific types of cheese, give them a whirl.

Monte Enebro

Let’s start with the classic: a dry, Basque-inspired cider. Millstone’s Farmgate is a traditional, oak barrel fermented cider. This Maryland cidery’s heirloom apples produce a complex juice that is slightly tart and with a floral kick. Pair it with Monte Enebro, a Spanish goat’s milk cheese that’s rubbed in ash and mold giving it a salty exterior punch. (Yes. I just used two fighting metaphors for this pairing.) The inside is firm, acidic, goaty goodness.
Continue reading

What’s In Your Lunchbox? 4 Easy Lunchin’ Ideas

It’s time to go back to school, which means another year of crumpled brown bags full of same-old-same-old… just enough to make it through the day. Whether you’re packing up lunch for your kids, or you’re just a kid a heart, we have a few ideas to make your mid-day meal something to look forward to.

Want more lunch ideas? More importanly, do you want to win some free cheese? Need we even ask?! Check out our “What’s in Your Lunchbox?” Pintrest contest to find new ideas, and share your own. You can also enter to win a $100 Murray’s Gift Card!

1. Ham Sandwich, The “Do Over”

Just say “NO” to those nasty ham sandwiches. There’s nothing worse than finally sitting down to lunch and biting into a flavorless, floppy sandwich. At Murray’s, we reject the idea that the old brown bag classic has to be so darn dull. Jazz it up with the king of deli meats Mortadella, smear on some sinfully spicy Lusty Monk mustard and then bring it all together with a few crisp Rick’s Picks Pickles.

2.Mac and Cheese, PLEASE

Got a little more time on your hands? Pick up a Murray’s Mac & Cheese kit to do something extra special for that lunch break. Everything’s included to help you make a bangin’ mac, but if you’re looking for an easy way out, we’ve also got it pre-made for you. Just heat and serve!

3. Snack Emergency

EMERGENCY! It’s 2:30 and I’m HANGRY!! Chill out, sit back, and tear into the Murray’s “Emergency Snack Supply.” Full of filling munchies that will ward of the mid-afternoon pangs, this collection is there when you need a little bit of brain food, or a sweet treat to make it through the day!

4.Sweet tooth

Got a sweet tooth, but looking for something a little bit different than your average Oreo? Try Murray’s classic sweet treat – grab a wedge of an alpine cheese, Comte or Challerhocker work great, and your favorite Bee Raw honey and get dippin’. You can also try something a little bit nontraditional with Bayley Hazen Blue and a piece of Mast Brothers chocolate. While it sounds odd, the deep creamy nuttiness of the blue pairs perfectly with this dark, rich chocolate!

Don’t Forget! Find more great lunchbox ideas, and enter to win a $100 Murray’s gift card right here!

We DO Know Cheese: Murray’s Associates Pass Exam with Flying Curds

Kroger and Murray’s Cheese Associates Named Certified Cheese Professionals

CINCINNATI, September 3, 2014 – The Kroger Company announced today that 13 Kroger associates and 4 Murray’s Cheese associates have been named Certified Cheese Professionals™ by the American Cheese Society.

These Kroger associates have joined the ranks of an elite group of individuals who have passed the Certified Cheese Professional™ Exam. The exam was created by the American Cheese Society to promote the large and comprehensive world of cheeses and encourage food industry professionals to master the knowledge.  Before taking the exam in Sacramento this summer, the associates participated in a rigorous 3-month training course led by Amanda Parker, Director of Kroger Programs at Murray’s Cheese.  Parker has also been tapped to co-chair the American Cheese Society’s annual conference in 2015.

“This is only the third year of this certification program, but it is already bringing the cheese profession to a whole new level,” said Rob Kaufelt, owner and President of Murray’s Cheese.  “After studying everything from milk chemistry to aging techniques to pairing and serving cheeses, these mongers are now even better equipped to educate and delight our customers.”

“We are proud of our associates for working so hard to earn this important recognition, which reflects their commitment to gourmet cheese craft,” said Margaret McClure, Kroger’s vice president of deli/bakery. “Kroger’s unique partnership with Murray’s Cheese continues to inspire our associates to share their passion for cheese with our customers every day.”

Through an exclusive partnership with New York City’s Murray’s Cheese, the Kroger family of stores features more than 140 Murray’s counters in stores from coast-to-coast.  Featuring more than 175 cheeses and specialty goods from all over the world, the Murray’s counters are staffed by associates who have been trained by the Murray’s experts in New York.  For a list of Murray’s in Kroger locations, please visit www.murrayscheese.com/locations.

For more information about ACS CCPs™, please visit www.cheesesociety.org.

 

  • Alicia Ball – Seattle, WA QFC
  • Walshe Birney – New York City Murray’s Cheese
  • Adam Burstein – Scottsdale, AZ Fry’s
  • Iris Busjahn – Seattle, WA QFC
  • Elizabeth Chubbuck – New York City Murray’s Cheese
  • James Danforth – Denver, CO King Soopers
  • Jill Davis – Atlanta, GA Kroger
  • Jeff Johnson – Denver, CO King Soopers
  • Sue Kargl – Louisville, KY Kroger
  • Lauren Lafontaine – Denver, CO King Soopers
  • Tess McNamara – New York City Murray’s Cheese
  • Beth Peterson – Portland, OR Fred Meyer
  • Jessica Reichert – Denver, CO King Soopers
  • Laurel Ross – Seattle, WA Fred Meyer
  • James Stahl – New York City Murray’s Cheese
  • Shannon Strom – Seattle, WA Fred Meyer
  • Kate True – Cincinnati, OH Kroger

 

 

 

What’s Up With Roquefort: Help Us #RescueRoquefort

The cheese world continues to be rocked by the FDA’s overreaching on bacteria counts in cheese production. Andy Hatch at Pleasant Ridge is halting Rush Creek production for the year to avoid the possibility of devastating product loss due to arbitrary shifts in the FDA’s rules, and several beloved imports – Roquefort! Morbier! – from respectable producers are under scrutiny for levels of bacterial activity that have left exactly nobody sick in Europe.

We will continue to share information with you as we learn more, but for now, we’re going to celebrate the good stuff while we can – reducing the price of Roquefort to an unheard of $19.99 per pound (that’s more than 30% off the regular price of $29.99) – don’t let these cheeses disappear from American caves and shelves before you’ve had the chance to enjoy them at least one more time.

Want to help us keep this cheese on American cheese counters for years to come? Help us spread the word using the hashtag #RescueRoquefort! If cheese lovers coast-to-coast make enough noise, we can hopefully put enough pressure on the FDA to take a better look at their policies. Just a few months ago we were faced with a ban on aging cheese on wooden boards, a traditional and safe practice that has been used for centuries. The cheese community came together  without a loud enough voice to convince the FDA to reverse its decision. Let’s come together, make a stink, and tell them that we want our Roquefort!

Salad Days of Summer: Ripe Tomatoes & Fresh Mozzarella

 

There’s nothing like a ripe, still-warm tomato plucked from the garden, sprinkled with a pinch of coarse sea salt. We’re all for this method of consumption, and highly recommend it. But if you want to kick the experience up a notch and create something that you can share with friends on a Sunday afternoon, add layers of fresh mozz and basil for a classic Caprese salad. We’re into a variation on this classic that’s a little more chunky and rustic.

Supreme Summer Tomato Salad with Mozzarella (or Burrata)

2-3 lbs of garden fresh/ heirloom tomatoes
sea salt and ground pepper
pinch of dried oregano
red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 grated clove of garlic
1/3 cup basil, sliced thin
pinch of red pepper flakes

  1. Slice tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and wedges. Place in a colander and sprinkle toms with a few pinches of coarse salt, which will help draw some of the moisture out, and will bring out that bright, acidic tomato flavor.
  2. Toss and sprinkle and let the colander drain into a bowl or the sink for 10-ish minutes.
  3. While they drain, blend dressing ingredients together: oil, vinegar, oregano, red pepper and garlic.
  4. In a separate bowl, coat tomatoes in dressing and add ribbons of basil.
  5. Slice up a 1lb ball of Mozzarella or Mozzarella di Bufala, and cut the round pieces into smaller, bite-sized morsels that can be placed on a plate beside the salad, or scattered on top and mixed in.
  6. Option 2: pour salad around a ball or two of Burrata, that can be opened and dipped into with pieces of fresh, crusty bread.

 

Recommended sides: assorted olives, prosciutto, salami

Dig in!