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 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.

Rob Kaufelt Talks American Cheese

Late last week I had the chance to catch-up with Rob Kaufelt, the owner of Murray’s, to chat about the current state of the American cheese industry. Rob has had his fingers firmly at the pulse of the international, and American cheese market for the last 20 + years.Rob has seen American cheesemakers pop up across the country, and has played major  role in these small producers sucess on American cheese counters. He shared a few interesting words with me on the past, present, and future of what American cheese looks like. With October being American Cheese Month, his words seem especially important…

When I first judged at the annual American Cheese Society conference – I think it was 1990 – there were around 75 cheeses entered in the competition in all cheese categories. I’d say about a dozen were good. This year there were almost two thousand entries and my staff members that attended said maybe three dozen were notable.

The good news is we have seen the birth of the artisan cheese movement in America reach adolescence. The bad news is that, like many adolescents, the industry has a lot of growing up to do. We need to learn how to make good cheese consistently and safely. We need to market our cheeses better. We certainly need to educate our customers if we are to move them away from industrialized crap to the cheeses we love. And  we need better production methods and distribution to help bring costs down so more people can afford the good stuff.

The best news is that the word is spreading, and those of us that chose this rather strange career, whether as makers or mongers, have reason to be proud of what we’ve done, and to eagerly anticipate what we will do in the future.

In 2013, these words ring especially true. This year we have seen tighter FDA and USDA standards, and pressure on American cheese makers to adopted greater safety standards. Internally at Murray’s, food safty was a major buzzword this year. As we grow to become a national cheese retailer, understanding every possible thing we can do along the supply chain to insure the saftey of our product is viewed as critical.

Education is a major facet of the cheese industry, that starts at the retail level. And down at our flagship on Bleecker Street, we are taking big steps to expand our cheese education mission  by building a second classroom space! This will allow for a more diverse curriculum, and allow us to continue to educate American cheese lovers.

Over the next few years, we plan for Murray’s to fufill the mission Rob layed out 20 years ago. We want to be the household name in cheese. While doing so, we are excitied to continue selling and promoting the many American producers we have grown to love over the years, while picking up some new ones along the way.  October and American Cheese Month is the perfect time to reflect on how far American cheesemakers have come, and the exciting  future that is right around the corner.

Raves From The Caves: September 23, 2013

By:Tess McNamara

The crew in the caves have been working hard over the last few weeks to get our favorite fall friend, Little Big Apple back on the counter. Read on to check out how it, and a few more varieties are maturing in the caves!

Little Big Apple:  So what if we start our morning with a nip of apple brandy and a Champlain Valley Triple Crème?  Don’t judge.  As of late we’re pumping out, Little Big Apple, a fall special that begins with a triple crème from Vermont, that we then wrap tenderly in brandy soaked apple leaves plucked from the trees in Warwick, NY.  Many thanks to a team of leaf picking warriors from Murray’s that devoted an entire Saturday to the cause.  Get ready for this little bundle of butter and citrusy booze to knock you into fall.

Abbaye de Belloc:  Another Basque sheep’s milk cheese that lurks in the shadows of its counterparts in the Alpine cave, but we’re here to tell you it might be a little smaller in format, and look different with its rattlesnake skin grey/yellow/brown combination rind, but it’s really top notch in flavor.  Make a cut to discover a rich, creamy, grassy, butter laden paste.  The caramelized finish will keep you coming back for more.

Isle of Mull:  The finish line is in sight for this drum of clothbound cheddar from Scotland.  Get it before it doesn’t show up on our counters again for some time.  If you’re a fan of horseradish and bitter dandelion greens together with sour cream pockets, this is your animal.

Torus:   Softer and more doughy than usual, Torus is a little bit more delicate in texture but consistently bright, tangy, and yeasty in flavor.  Our favorite lemony ring, if you will.  Add some honey, or feel free to spread this temperamental donut on crostini with a savory counterpart to see what the runny creamline will do.