So, What’s The Deal With Cheese 101?

Over the last few weeks, you might have noticed that we have been sharing a series of videos called “Cheese 101.” Earlier this year, we were trying to come up with new ways to share some basic cheese knowledge. If you look at the Murray’s mission statement, it ends with the phrase “… to continue to educate ourselves and customers on the pleasures of cheese.”

We take our mission seriously.  We’re here to put specialty cheese at the forefront of food conversations in America. While there is a bevy of cheese information out there, we wanted to make it quick, easy, and most importantly, fun to demystify cheese which led us to the “Cheese 101″ video series.

Our first four videos covers the basics. From choosing the perfect wedge, the appropriate portioning size, and pairing with the perfect beverage, the videos help guide you through all the facets of buying cheese. Our first two videos are out, but look for “Cheese and Drink Pairings” on 11/19 and “Entertaining with Cheese” on 11/26.

Being a real curd nerd takes time and dedication, we hope that this series provides a a brief  introduction that you will need to dive into the land of curds and whey.

Still feeling a little anxious, and want a little help buying that first round of cheese? Check out our Cheese For Beginners selection, and get it delivered right to your door, or send it to a loved one for a funky holiday gift. You can view all of our 2013 holiday gift collections through our digital Gift Guide. Remember, you can order today, and schedule your delivery closer to the holidays!

Want to take your cheese education to the next level? We offer a variety of different cheese classes 6 days a week at our Bleecker street store!

Alpine By Me: Exploring the Latest and Greatest from the Alps

By:Summer Babiarz 

Recently we were treated with an Alpine Cheese course taught by Columbia Cheese. Jonathan Richardson started off as a Cheesemonger and has dedicated his professional life to building connections between Cheesemongers and Cheesemakers. He has a deep respect for those who are dedicated to selling what is good and we at Murray’s like guys like that.

Researching Alpines can be daunting and now we know why! The Swiss government subsidizes the production of only a handful of highly exported cheeses. The hope of these subsidies is that little Switzerland will supply the world with recognizable “Swiss Cheese”.  Swiss Cheesemaking Associations became popular in the  20th century and stabilized the craft of  Cheesemaking in Switzerland. 

However the downside is that those who had produced distinct regional styles stopped and started making the subsidized Swiss cheeses. Another is that there is simply no reward for products that stand out as excellent. But don’t worry check out these Brave Cheesemakers and you will see why we so passionately applaud their efforts!  

 

WALTER RASS: CHALLERHOCKER

Walter Rass’s dairy is located in St. Gallan, Switzerland. Here the elevation is 1005 m. The dairy was founded in 1896 and he has only approved the milk of 13 local farmers. By 2015 his dairy will produce more Challerhocker than Appenzeller for the first time in history and that’s a big deal. Walter’s creativity and hard work will move him out of association cheesemaking thus giving himself and his farmers an scalable opportunity to control their financial destiny.

 Challerhocker= “One Who Sits In a Cellar”.  Unlike traditional Appenzeller, Challerhocker milk  is not skimmed which accounts for its density and extremely white paste.  Walter then introduces house-processed calf rennet. After it is pressed and brined each wheel is hand-washed everyday to every week for at least 3 months. Cheeses are aged a total of at least 10 months on wooden planks in you guessed….a cellar!  

PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: FONDUE FIXINGS, CORNICHONS, DATE CAKE, GENOA SALAMI, PICKLED PLUMS

 

EVELYN WYLDE: STERNSCHNUPPE & UR BERGKASE

 Evelyn Wylde was born and raised in Heidelberg and always dreamed of being a dairy farmer. She apprenticed first as a dairy farmer and then as a cheesemaker at Kaserei Zurwies. She originally made Raclette but after experiencing the worst of the mass produced cheese market began doing what she loved, making classic Bergkase.

Sternschnuppe = “Falling Star”: Located in the Allagau region of the Bavarian Alps, Kaskuche Isny was established in 1998 b y a group of like-minded farmers, wanting to make Organic cheeses in an ecologically friendly with fresh Alpine milk. The result is this craggy,  English muffin looking paste and a slightly tackier rind than you may expect. Its flavor profile makes you crave ramen soup as it is similar to broth or roasted meat.

 Ur Bergkase: This a classic Swiss table cheese consumed morning, noon and night in Switzerland. This clean and rounded out table cheese comes only from 7 local farmers within 5 km of the dairy. Bergkase is a new Murray’s product briefly replacing Adelegger. This cheese is great for a customer who wants something special but not overpowering.

 PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: GENOA SALAMI, ROASTED MEATS, PICKLED BEETS

 

ARTURO CHIRABOGA: CHIRABOGA BLUE

This dairy is located in Germany and run by Ecuadorian, Arturo Chiraboga. It was established in 1433 and has been kickin around since the 16th century. In the mid-1990’s it was converted into a guesthouse with a dairy.  Arturo insists that all milk be fully delivered within 1.5 hours of milking!

 Chiraboga Blue: Unskimmed milk is pasteurized and hand molded into shape.  Arturo does things his own way.  As you may know we always tell folks that blue mold is never injected into wheels. Well meet the exception to the rule. These wheels are hand pierced with needles dipped in this specific blue mold solution. 

 PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: BLACK CHERRY CONFIT, BUCKWHEAT HONEY, BEER, STEAK

 

ANTON HOLZINGER: BLAUROTER

Anton was born and raised in Zurwies Germany. His father was a dairy inspector. A true independent spirit, he is considered a bit of a mad professor of cheese. The dairy itself uses a modern tip system (like Jasper Hill).  

 Blauroter: An oddity from Anton! 1.5 pounds of cheese in an elongated rectangle format. Think of a stretched out Limburger shape or brick cheese, with a washy, sticky rind and an almost unbelievable custardy, runny, sweet paste. This cheese barely holds itself together and sports little naturally forming pockets of blue.

 PAIRING TODAY: BLACK CHERRY CONFIT, CARMELIZED ONIONS, TOASTED RYE BREAD, RUSTIC CRACKERS

Cavemaster Reserve Sandy Relief Comté

A very empty cheese case

It’s hard to believe that a year has already passed since Hurricane Sandy. In this time many efforts have been made to restore the tri-state are and mitigate the extensive damage that resulted from the storm. While some were effected worse than others, everyone felt the impact of the storm, yes even us Cheesemongers.

In the hours before the storm hit Murray’s set a plan into place.  With moments notice we decided to empty the entire store and move everything perishable to our more secure warehouse in Long Island City. This was an “all hand on deck” process that required over 4 trips with our trucks back and forth.

So much cheese!

The biggest hurdle were the massive, 80 pound wheel of year-old Comté we had just received. We rolled these guys up the stairs, onto a truck, and off to safety. After the storm ended, Cavemaster Brian and Buyer Steve gave the wheels a taste and figured that since they already tasted so good, why no sit on them for an extra year creating Cavemaster Reserve Sandy Relief Comté. And now the time has come to crack these bad boys open and reap the benefits of two years of aging. With a deep caramel, buttery, nutty richness, and a slight hint of perseverance, we knew we had done something special and we needed to come up with a special way to sell this cheese.

Loading up the first truck load (of four)

Enter Shore Soup project. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy this organization has taken on a multi dimensional, grassroots effort to restore the Rockaways. With a mission of feeding families in need healthy food, they have set up many ways to provide these meals. From their CSA and free farmers market, home meal deliveries to their mobile “Souper truck”, these guys have been able to feed over 50,000 people.

Although a year has past there are still many people in need of support. That is why we have decided to take all of the profit from Cavemaster Reserve Sandy Relief Comté and donate it to Shore Soup. We hope that this contribution will be able to provide many needed, healthy meals to people in our own community. We look back at a year ago today and are filled with such pride at the resilience of this city. Although there is still work to be done, it is only New York City that could rally together, support each other and overcome in the way that we have.

 

 

 

The Rinds They Are A-Changin’

Earlier this year, Murray’s celebrated 10 years in Grand Central Market. After 10 years of slinging cheese in midtown, we decided it was time for a little facelift. This month we re-opened our Grand Central shop with a brand new look sporting countless improvements but most importantly a brand new European cheese case.

The new case is massive. Over 20 feet long meaning that we can now stock even more cheese, and cured meats! The case is now lower to the ground, and for our loyal Grand Central customers who experienced the old case, this means more face time with mongers. The new case is much easier to navigate, and one of the best features is the sort of birds eye view the glass top provides.

Not only have we expanded the cheese side of things, but we have also doubled the shopping and have added over 100 new products! Countless new accompaniments from jams, spreads and honeys, to dried fruit and nuts have been added to the shop which will provide even more pairing options for that perfect cheese board.

Our dairy case is now stocked with new varieties of yogurts, butters, and dairy centric items that we simply did not have space for before. We also introduced a new line of “Made By Murray’s” prepared food items ranging from an updated line of Mac and Cheese, to roasted brussels sprouts and quinoa salad. In a Mid-town lunch crunch or want to nosh for the train ride home? We have got your back.

 

And for those who simply don’t have time to wait in line? We have thought of you too. We are now excepting orders online! Visit murrayscheese.com/grandcentral to place an order, and we will have it ready for you to pick up. We just made buying cheese, AND making the 6:15 to Greenwich a whole lot easier.

Raves From The Caves: October 15, 2013

By:Tess McNamara

As fall settles in, all sorts of exciting, new, seasonal flavors start to pop up on the cheese counter. Read below as Tess tells us what is tasting especially autumnal.

Greensward:  Wrapped in spruce bark with a plump rusty, orange rind.  Yeah, that’s what you see, but upon entry to the caves these little boozy, aromatic buggers are all white with frustrating grooves in their rinds.  To get that layer of white mold off we scrub the grooves tediously with teeny nail brushes, a little bit of Ithaca beer, and a healthy sense of humor.    With a little teamwork, our forearms will all be uniform, and this washed rind reserve product will continue to be available both behind the counter and online.  Ample stacks at the moment, all at various mouth-watering stages.

Vermont Shepherd: Guess who’s back in town? The seasonal sensation from Major Farms — one of the oldest and most celebrated farmstead cheese operations — that’s who. From about April until November, cheesemaker, David Major, makes rounds of Vermont Shepard (a.k.a.) Verano, as his herd grazes on pasture.  We’ll have this herbaceous, caramel studded, buttery wonder for a short period so come by the shop and give it a try before it get snagged up!

 Malvarosa:  This Valencia favorite was first made in an effort to preserve the local sheep breed Guirra.  We fully support this endeavor, especially after tasting this semi-soft, sweet, buttery representation of sheep’s milk.  This interestingly shaped cheese takes on the mold of its cheese cloth, which is wrapped tightly around the curd and knotted at the top.  Grab a knife and slice off a hunk and savor the rind for more piquant, barnyard notes.