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A Night in the Caves

November 2, 2011

by Emily

One of the major benefits to living in New York is the incredible access we have to one of the finer things in life: cheese. While Central Market, Whole Foods, and the like provide incredible options and varieties, there is nothing quite like Murray’s Cheese Shop. The first-class cheese outpost in the West Village has recently expanded and – thanks to insider knowledge from my co-blogger! – offers various cheese classes to aspiring cheesemongers. I was lucky enough to snag a couple of spots in last Friday’s class.

After tasting several cheeses and sipping on some wine, the group suited up in hair bonnets and booties to explore the delicate pHs in the subterranean caves. Extending beyond the original cheese shop walls above, the caves are literally right below the shop allowing for great control and access to the best cheeses around. We learned about the selection process Murray’s undertakes with potential suppliers that considers best practices, consistent quality, and sustainability and also the unique washing, ripening, and aging process for all the cheese varietals. The other major factor is the quality and consistency in production. From what I now know, it is easy to see why Murray’s has made its mark in the cheese world as they strive for the best in these categories. My friend Shannon and I found the process to mirror that of wine making – the aging and the encasements make all the difference. We also noticed that everyone used similar (and silly!) wine descriptors – buttery, nutty, fruity, tangy, etc. – to describe each enchanting cheese flavor.

We enjoyed sampling the following cave-aged cheeses:

Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

Little Big Apple

Fourme d’Ambert

Delice de Bourgogne

While we tasted many-a-cheese, this cheesemonger enjoyed the Little Big Apple the best of them all. Wrapped in local apple leaves and adorned with a raffia ribbon, you might think I was merely swayed by the darling delivery of this cheese. Beyond aesthetics, I was sold once I realized those apple leaves are soaked in brandy which subtly locks in an incredible, fall-like flavor.

Cheers to cheese!

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