Start Spreading the News, Little Big Apple is Here TODAY

by: Cate Peebles

One bright and early Saturday morning (some might argue too early, too bright):

Four intrepid Murray’s apple-enthusiasts met up at 25-19 Borden Avenue in Long Island City, Queens, to begin a trek upstate to gather apple leaves for this year’s batch of Cavemaster Reserve Little Big Apple.Fueled by pumpkin doughnuts and taknards of iced coffee we started here:

good morning from Borden Ave

 And wound up here, give or take an hour or two and an episode of Car Talk:

Where we spent the morning surrounded by these: Skipping, Von Trapp-like, through lively, green, rolling hills–as demonstrated by Leo, here:

We also had to do a little quality control, sampling the Gala Apple wares that filled the air with their warm apple skin glow and sweet smell.

Rebekah embraces apple trees the way she embraces cheese and life

 However, we did add a little muscle, having promised Brian, the Cavemaster, that we’d fill several boxes with perfect, cheese-wrapping-sized leaves, like these:

After several hours of plucking, munching and view-intaking:

 We decided to celebrate our yeild and join the growing crowd down the hill for a little post-picking-picnicing, a fall tradition here at the Warwick Valley Winery:

 Meanwhile, back in the caves,these little guys had no idea what was coming their way:

 Stay tuned for: The Making of Little Big Apple

Raves From the Caves: September 11, 2013

By:Tess McNamara

Lots of great stuff   making it’s way out of the caves this week, and with Greensward recently being featured in the Wall Street Journal we have really stepped up production.  Ready to go? Let’s get spelunking!

Greensward:  We’re happy and our wrists and forearms are tired.  Why you ask?  Well, we have not just one, but three tall racks teeming with Greensward at various stages of its bath cycle.  It takes a lot of time to scrub and wash these babies, thus our well developed forearm muscles.  You could bake your favorite savory quiche over spruce branches from a freshly axed Christmas tree, or you could spoon Greensward into your mouth for the same effect.  It’s your choice.  We’re just sayin’, they’re here in mass quantities and they glow like the sky at dusk and taste like brothy, woodsy butter.

Truffle Tremor:  Sniff out this truffle laden cakey goat cheese from California’s Humbolt County and dig in.  You may moan a little over the first herbal, cream of mushroom, earthy bite.  Once cut into, this bloomy rind drum reveals a cookies ’n cream-esque paste rimmed by a custardy, opaque creamline.  Those darker specs are the truffles themselves so rest assured this is no faux dinner party surprise.  Bring salami, too.

Amarelo da Beira Baixa (translation: “yellow cheese from the lower border”) is a mixed goat’s and sheep’s milk, semi-soft cheese from Portugal, currently making us do handstands.  Tart, yeasty, zippy flavors are balanced by earthy, meaty, herbal notes.  Eat the rind and mean it if you like the idea of transforming to a Portuguese barnyard.

Angel Food:  This little angel hails from Illinois where the prairie rolls on endlessly and the wind whips across rich, grassy terrain.  The thin bloomy rind on this number covers a creamy, barny, sour cream and chive flavored paste.  We think you should do yourself a favor and make some toast and start spreading Angel Food atop.

Raves From the Caves: August 27, 2013

By:Tess McNamara

Ahh the Murray’s cheese caves! The best place in New York City for cheese to take some time to age and really up the funk. We consider the caves a sort of day spa for cheese. They get the care they need to be all that they can be! “Raves from the caves” is a new, weekly post that will feature what is ripe and ready on the cheese counter, and what good stuff is in the pipeline. 

C-Local:  We’re working our way through a fresh batch with a bright, tacky rind and young, but daring cream line.  The aroma is dank and the flavor full.  Expect more grilled lamb and savory notes to trump those bushels mixed berries.  At least for now.

Greensward:  The batch released last week is still exquisite and a new tower of nearly 300 has been through its first wash.  The rind on the oldest batch is darker orange with pockets of woodsy brown near the spruce bark; the paste luscious and creamy, tasting like herb butter, roasted veggies, and the wind swirling through a forest canyon.


Hudson Flower

Hudson Flower: Hudson Flower for everyone! As the fall breezes creep in, everyone should be psyched to bring home a delicious round of fall foliage in the form of orange and yellow mold adorning most rinds of Hudson Flower. Cold storage continues to hold the cream line in check.  Count on gamey, earthy notes teamed with buttery, tangy pockets.

Torus:   Our little doughman is firmer and more dapper this week, having benefitted from a slightly altered aging cycle.  We plated torus and let the batch experience the tender awakening of the drying room, followed by an indulgent slumber in the bloomy rind cave, and finally some tough, better-shape-up love from the mini-cold storage unit.  The creamline is thin, yet decadent and even, and the paste yeasty, zippy, and bright.  At room temperature the geotrichum rind – now sturdy and taunt – will relax into a velvety coat.

ChevrotThis pocket sized brainy drum is with us in abundant quantities, ready to surprise goat cheese lovers all over with its lemony, cakey, zippy profile.  Consider mini Chevrot a filler for the office donut run.  Why grab one when you can take a dozen to the office and smother them in honey and jam? 

Roquefort:  Oh Roquefort, oh Roquefort, oh how I love your deep blue pockets and your gritty butter laden paste.  Come home with me and make my nostrils flare and the back of my throat tingle.  You are classically radiant.


Our Favorite Things: 10 Nom Nom Sandwiches for Back to School

By:Robin Minkoff

Autumn is nearly upon us, and in New York City that means we’re thisclose to the end of: the Bloomberg Era, the bare midriff trend, and easy weekend parking.  But!  We’re getting ready for school: picking up new shoes, notebooks, and a lunchbox.  Here’s a guide to yummy sandwiches you can put together in a snap!

  1. Taleggio with Fig Jam and Proscuitto
  2. Irish Cheddar with Big Spoon Peanut Butter and sliced green apple
  3. Big Spoon Peanut Almond Butter with Linden Tremblay Honey
  4. Aged English Cheddar with Granbiscotto Cooked Prosciutto and Sonoma Brinery Bread & Butter Pickles
  5. Big Spoon Peanut Butter with Harvest Song Sour Cherry Jam
  6. VBC Peppered Goat Chevre with Genoa Salami and greens
  7. VBC Plain Goat Chevre with Mortadella and McClure’s Garlic Dill Chips (put ‘em right there in the sandwich!)
  8. Mountain Gorgonzola with Due Vittore Balsamic Vinegar and Proscuitto
  9. Appenzeller with Ham and Sonoma Brinery Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles
  10. Mountain Gorgonzola with Linden Tremblay Honey

Don’t forget the condiments!  Check out Sir Kensington Mayonnaise and Beaufor Mustard.

Mongers, Piglets and Bears, Oh My!

Piglets at Jasper Hill

By: Lisa Griffin

We didn’t follow the yellow brick road to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, but team Murray’s had an amazing journey. Our merry band of mongers had a fun, coffee-fueled drive up to Vermont. Thanks to our friends at Jasper Hill Farms, we met baby piglets that worked their way into our hearts (and the scent, into our van). Surprise does not even begin to describe our reaction to the bear cub darting across the road 5 feet in front of our moving vehicle. The most memorable part of the drive was the beauty of Vermont itself. Living in a city like New York, it is easy to forget the power of nature. The number of trees was awe-inspiring, like driving through a rolling sea of green.

After a lovely night in Burlington, we were off to Shelbourne Farms. The vibe on the day of the festival was one of palpable excitement. We were so excited to meet the cheesemakers and other producers attending. The best part was — they were just as excited to meet and talk to us!

Big Picture Farm’s goat milk caramels

Once at the Festival, one of my responsibilities as a volunteer was helping the producers load in their amazing food and set up their booths. To my delight, I had the honor of helping Louisa from Big Picture Farm set up. Big Picture Farm’s goat caramels are definitely one of our favorite sweet treats at the Bleecker store, and Louise was only too gracious to share some stories about her dog Elvis, her fantastic goats, and the wonderful portraits she has drawn of them all. You can taste the love in the caramels that she shared with us that day.

I also had the privilege of spending some time with Joan, one of the founders of Effie’s Oatcakes. I’m not going to lie, I am personally responsible for finishing off an entire package of oatcakes in one sitting. So, I was only too happy to talk about all of the cheeses I love pairing with these buttery, sweet, and salty snacks. She also let me have a sneak-peak taste of some of their new cakes coming out for the holidays. I’m already dreaming about the future cheese and oatcake bliss to come.

Vermont Butter and Cheese

Once the festival was underway, it was a great day of tasting and talking about cheese with the producers at Jasper Hill, Consider Bardwell, and Vermont Butter and Cheese. It was wonderful to meet the folks at Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps and Vermont Smoke and Cure as well. There are so many wonderful artisanal and farmstead foods being made. I definitely came away with a new appreciation for the amazing products that we have the privilege of selling.

I grew up in Los Angeles, and am a New York transplant, so spending some time on a farm and appreciating the amount of time, work and love that goes into the cheeses and the other foods from Vermont was invaluable to me. On the way home, we stopped at a farm that sells their products to the public. When you walk in the sign reads, “Welcome! Our store’s SELF-SERVICE and on the HONOR SYSTEM.” The farmers and artisans take such pride in their animals and their products. It is an honor for us to be a part of that process and pass that respect on to those with whom we share the fruits of their labor.