Not Just Another Cheese Plate…So Good The Lady Had It Three Nights in a Row… – Marcella The Cheesemonger International Guilde des Fromagers
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Not Just Another Cheese Plate…So Good The Lady Had It Three Nights in a Row…

photoAs you, my loyal readers, know The Lady travels… a lot… a lot more than The Man and I like… but there is an upside to her travel and it’s spelled C-H-E-E-S-E… glorious C-H-E-E-S-E…

Recently The Lady spent several days in New York attending meetings at our favorite Cheese Shop, Murray’s Cheese located in the West Village. Two nights in a row she and dinner with some of her favorite Cheese Swells at Murray’s Cheese Bar, located a mere 30 steps down Bleecker Street from Murray’s Cheese… what a sublimely, cheesy street Bleecker has become…

Each night, the Mongers at the cheese bar started these dinners with a cheese plate… not just another cheese plate… but a cheese plate so special that The Lady brought home all of the ingredients and delighted The Man and Moi with the same plate… if she’s gotta travel… at least she brings home the cheese…

First on the plate was one of  Pat Morford’s babies: Up In Smoke, which we recently reviewed. UIS is a great start to any cheese plate; this fresh chevre is wrapped in smokey maple leaves and then spritzed with Bourbon… how can you not be opening the door to a perfect cheese plate when you start with Up In Smoke?

Next on this plate was The Star of The Show: Hudson Flower. Every once in awhile, a truly special cheese comes our way and Hudson Flower is one of those. A detailed review follows this posting… receiving my coveted 4 Paws doesn’t really do justice to this cheese… but ” that’s all I’ve got”… stay tuned to read my thoughts on this sheep’s milk cheese that began life at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, just up the Hudson Valley from Manhattan.

Hudson Flower Photo courtesy Murray's Cheese Copyright 2013 Murray's Cheese

Hudson Flower Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese Copyright 2013 Murray’s Cheese

The third cheese on the plate was Etivaz, a seasonal, raw cow milk cheese from Switzerland. I would describe this cheese as Gruyere on steroids. Made by about three dozen producers, Etivaz is only available four months of the year and to our delight, The Lady was in Manhattan during one of those months. The cows wander the grasslands of the Alps providing milk that is gently warmed in copper vats before traditional rennet (animal) is added. After curdling, the curds are finely cut and warmed to 57 degrees Celsius. The wheels are made and labeled with the producer to ensure traceability. Aged to perfection( in the either in Switzerland or Murray’s own caves), this cheese became the first food (after wine) to be awarded the coveted PDO designation in 1999. Nutty and sweet with just a hint of the smoke from the fires beneath the copper vats… another 4 Paws cheese…copper vats

Following Etivaz was Gabietou, a washed rind from the Pyrenees. This cheese was created in 2001 in the mountainous area of Southwest France from the raw milks of cow and sheep. The cheesemaker washes the wheels with a brine made from local warm springs and rock salt. Murray’s buys young wheels and ages them in their caves on Long Island (previously under the shop in Greenwich Village) under the watchful eye and care of Murray’s Affineur, Brian Ralph. Brian uses cheese alchemy and imagination to coax out the best of the cheeses entrusted to his care. Dense, fruity and earthy… another 4 Paws cheese…

Wrapping up the plate, The king of  Blue Cheeses, Stilton… what do I even need to say… reviewed by us in the past.

If you think there’s a method to this cheese plate; you would be right… only the best of the best… five cheeses all of the 4 Paws caliber… I must commend the Mongers of Murray’s Cheese Bar for creating such a stellar cheese plate and thank The Lady for re-creating it here at the manse for The Man and moi…

The Man swooned; I swooned… even The Lady swooned…

Cheese plate photo courtesy CheeseMaster Chad of Ohio, Hudson Flower courtesy of Murray’s Cheese, and copper vat photo courtesy etivaz-aoc.ch.

 

 

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