These Are a Few of My Favorite [Murray’s] Things!

The holidays are HERE, and with them come a slew of new goodies for me to become obsessed with. Here are just a few of my favorite new things.

2-Year Aged Comte

Throughout the year, we have customers who venture to the cheese counter, inquiring about the status of our elusive 2-year aged Comte.  More often than not, we must sadly shake our heads and reveal the bitter truth—the time for this seasonal cheese hasn’t come.  But rejoice, fromage connoisseurs! This raw cow’s milk beauty is back and better than ever. You may recall from a previous post the story of our buyer’s journey to retrieve this marvel of the cheese world.  After tasting what was specially chosen just for Murray’s, I fell in love. I brought some home, ate until I couldn’t eat any more, and then had to have just…one…more…bite. It is the perfect snacking cheese—nutty, fruity, the perfect blend of savory and sweet, with a semi-firm but creamy texture that melts like butter in your mouth.  Though it’s hard to improve on perfection, this chameleon cheese pairs with almost any assortment of jams, honeys, butters or charcuterie. You won’t believe it until you taste for yourself—but we’ve found the perfect cheese.

Holiday gift note: If you can stand to share this seasonal alpine-style cheese, someone will love you dearly.


Rush Creek Reserve

Artisanal. American. Raw milk. My interest is piqued. But what’s so special about Rush Creek Reserve? For one thing, it’s made by Uplands Cheese Company in Wisconsin (the same folks who make award-winning Pleasant Ridge Reserve), who believe in a grass-fed pasture diet and seasonal herding for their cows. This means the animals are happy and healthy, which leads to better, more flavorful milk (and of course, better cheese!).  As for the cheese itself, Rush Creek Reserve sports a lovely spruce bark belt around its soft, ripe exterior—inspired by the famous French Vacherin Mont d’Or.  The result—oh, the result!—a delicate, woodsy, beefy paste that sings on the tongue and impresses your friends at holiday parties.

Holiday gift note: This seasonal cheese only comes from autumn milk, so its availability is extremely limited. Get it before someone beats you to it!



Societe-Original Seashore Honey

Most people know that honey makes a terrific complement to most varieties of cheese, but fewer think about why that is. Like cheese, honey is fascinating because its flavors vary based on terroir—the plants and flower nectar the honeybee collects determines the taste of its resulting honey (floral, fruity, nutty, etc.) in the same way that a ruminant’s diet will influence the taste of its milk and cheese. So I think we can agree—honey is a magical thing. But this honey? Magic becomes divine.  In addition to the sweet, floral taste (courtesy of French Canadian seaside summer pollen) the texture is creamy, smooth, and nougat-like.  Just as a cheesemaker or affineur can shape the texture of a cheese, the makers of Societe-Original whip the already delicious raw foundation to create light, fondant perfection. Picture coming soon, but trust me – it is a beaut!!!

Holiday gift note: Need a gift for that hard-to-please foodie? Stop looking. This is it!


Jeni’s Oatmeal Crème Ice Cream Sandwich

photo courtesy of jeni’s splendid ice creams!

Before you get your hopes up, no, sadly we can’t sell this one online! But if you’re ever near our Bleecker Store, you’re in for a treat. Jeni’s Ice Cream could convert even the most adamant ice cream opposition (which can’t actually exist, right?)—because it’s that good. The milk is sourced from Snowville creamery grass-fed cows, and the ice cream is made from scratch with all-natural ingredients.  So if the quality of Jeni’s Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is amazing, and the flavor is out of this world, how might you improve on a tried-and-true formula? Stick that ice cream between some of the greatest oatmeal cookies ever created! Flavored with molasses and cinnamon, the soft oat-filled cookies soak in the cool, rich vanilla ice cream to create the perfect dessert.  Jeni’s other Ice Cream Sandwiches are worth trying, but in my opinion, this Oatmeal Crème can’t be beat!

Holiday gift note: Santa prefers Jeni’s Ice Cream Sandwiches.


La Quercia Acorn Tamworth Coppa

I must admit that I hold a soft place in my heart for Iowa-based prosciutto company La Quercia and its products.  After living in the Italian province of Parma (yes, the Parma of prosciutto renown) for several years, the husband and wife team from Iowa decided to bring premium quality prosciutto to their own state and country. From what started as simply prosciutto sourced from local, sustainable producers, La Quercia grew to include a plethora of cured meats. And these meats are incredible!  The La Quercia product I can’t get enough of right now is the Acorn Tamworth Coppa. Tamworth pigs from Missouri spend their last three months foraging acorns in the Ozarks from oak and hickory trees, which leads to a sweet and nutty flavor and silky, melt-in-your-mouth texture.  Coppa comes from the top of the pig’s shoulder, which ensures a lovely meat to fat ratio, evidenced by the beautiful white marbling on the cut.  This is the perfect meat to pair with cheese or adorn a cold plate—and (here comes the blasphemy) this American-made acorn coppa is miles above the Italian original in taste and texture. Currently only available in NYC stores.

Holiday gift notes: Local. Sustainable. Delicious. Pork.


Lauren McDowell is a cheesemonger who moonlights as a food scholar, earning a graduate degree in Food Studies at New York University one bite research paper at a time.

Coming to a Murray’s Near You: Fondue Nation


Saturday, December 15th, 2-6pm at every Murray’s shop nationwide

Warm up with winter fondue! Be a part of Fondue Nation, America’s largest fondue party. Hot, gooey, melt-y cheese for all. On December 15th at every Murray’s shop nationwide, you’ll find eager cheese experts ready to feed you a dreamy combination of cheeses and teach you how to be fondue fabulous. Free samples & recipes, activities for kids and a chance to win a trip for two in NYC*, valued at more than $2,000. To find a Murray’s shop near you, go to our store locator.


New York City Eataway Sweepstakes






Grand prize includes 2 nights at the Dream Downtown hotel, dinner at Murray’s Cheese Bar and a private tour of our cheese caves. Ten runners-up  receives a Boska fondue pot and three melting cheeses so you can continue the fondue cheese tradition year-round. Enter to win now through December 31.

After-Hours Holiday Shopping Event! Wednesday, December 5th 9-10:30pm

After-Hours Holiday Shopping Event

Wednesday, December 5th, 9-10:30pm at Murray’s Cheese in Greenwich Village, 254 Bleecker Street

Join us for an exclusive after-hours shopping event where you’ll

Taste new craft beers and ciders, holiday gifts, and our favorite seasonal cheeses.

Save 20% off all retail purchases, classes, mail order and catering orders for one night only.

Help New Yorkers hit by Hurricane Sandy. Ticket sales will be donated to Food Bank for NYC’s Sandy relief fund.


Admission is $10. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Food Bank for New York City’s Hurricane Sandy relief fund.

Space is limited! Signup online.


Who’s Afraid of IPA’s?

Kevin Brooks is a cheesemonger and self-proclaimed beer geek. This Saturday he’ll be leading a seminar at the Craft Beer Festival in NYC. The beers in this post are all available at Murray’s on Bleecker Street.

IPAs are intimidating.

It’s true. Big, strong and intensely bitter, IPAs are the beer that lets hops shine. Stinking of citrus and pine, they explode on the palate and, if you’re not used to it, they can really scare you off. I remember once in my callow youth when I left most of a pint of Sierra Nevada sitting on the bar, possibly thinking, “that was gross, it probably went bad.” Oh foolish past me!

The granddaddy of IPAs was developed in Burton on Trent in the 1800s. At the time, the British were having difficulties delivering beer to colonies in India.  A long hot sea voyage wasn’t good for the beer, and it was arriving spoiled and useless. Knowing of hops’ preservative qualities and that a stronger beer would be better suited to the trip, brew masters upped the amount of hops they added to the beer, resulting in a strongly bitter brew. It was pale ale destined for India, so they called it India Pale Ale, or an IPA. The name stuck.

There is a massive range of flavors and aromas in the world of hops, and brewers continue to find new ways to unlock ever more bitter and intense brews. Dry-hopping, wet-hopping, hop backs, double hopping, continuous hopping, bar-side hop infusers, all working to wrest more flavor and aroma out of this humble flower. Some hops are added for bitterness, some for flavor, some for aroma, and different kinds of hops are added at different parts of the boil. It’s all very involved.

To ease into the world of hops, I’ve selected three beers that raise us up through levels of intensity. So starting off we have an English IPA, Coniston Brewery’s Bluebird Bitter. English IPAs are milder than their American cousins; they’re hopped less, and English hops are milder, more floral, and less assertive than American hops. They also have cute names like Fuggle. Bluebird stands as a very drinkable, well balanced ale with a sweet backbone, lovely floral aromas, and light bitterness. I like this one paired with a mellow English cheddar with a similarly silly name, Tickler Cheddar!

Next up was an emblematic American IPA, Green Flash’s West Coast IPA. American hops tend to be more towards the piney and citric side of things, and American brewers tend to throw a whole lot more of them into the kettle, making for much bigger, more hop forward beers. The West Coast IPA smells like fresh cut grapefruits in the middle of a pine forest, while the flavor is big and citrusy, but still balanced, with a lingering bitterness to let you know what you are drinking. It’s also a touch stronger, at 7.2% abv, so be warned. For cheese picks, this is amazing with the hops-coated Cavemaster Reserve Hudson Flower.

And now for the bitterest of the bitter, an Imperial IPA. Imperial is a bit of a buzzword in brewing these days, and generally just means “more”, as in “more hops, more booze, more flavor.” Southern Tier’s Unearthly Imperial IPA is no joke, and one of my favorites. Enormously bitter, but with a big malt backbone supporting it, making for an eye-watering, yet still drinkable beer. But Murray’s doesn’t have the standard Unearthly; we carry the Oak Aged Unearthly, which has spent the better part of a year chilling in an oak barrel.

What a difference a year (trapped in a barrel) makes! As beer ages, hop flavor and aroma is the first thing to fade. First the aromas fade to nothing, then the flavors dwindle, leaving behind just the characteristic bitterness. The Oak Aged Unearthly has mellowed out considerably. No piney, no citrus, just a big chewy bitterness that isn’t overwhelming. And when you take a big, balanced IPA and remove the hop character, you’re left with a big, sweet, malty beer. The level of caramelly sweetness is really surprising, and so is how well it pairs with some Mast Bros. Sea Salt chocolate. Who would have thought you could drink an IPA with dessert?

Are IPAs intimidating? Sure. But as with anything else, if you give it half a chance, you’ll find some real pleasant surprises in there.

Cheese & Bourbon Tasting in Louisville, Kentucky!

Cheese & Bourbon Tasting with Murray’s Cheese & Maker’s Mark in Louisville

On Monday,  Murray’s is heading to Louisville to kick off our newest cheese counter opening in Kroger. We can’t wait! We’ve been working hard with Maker’s Mark to bring Louisvillians an exciting night filled with unique cheese & bourbon pairings at the lovely 21C Hotel. As an added bonus, Proof on Main will be serving up tasty bites for party goers. Cheese, bourbon, and delicious Southern snacks?! We’re in heaven.

$10 donation tickets are available at and all ticket sales benefit Louisville’s Dare to Care Food Bank.

Event Details

Monday, November 12 from 6-8pm

21C Hotel, 700 West Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202