It’s still 10 days to Christmas which means there are 8 days left to order specialty cheeses from Murray’s, New York’s oldest and most famous Cheese Shop. As many of you know, I worked for Kroger, opening 75+ Murray’s Cheese Shops throughout the US. It was quite an amazing gig and I thank Rob, Nathan and Nick at Murray’s for the three years I worked with them. Part of the fun was regular trips to the Bleecker Street location in NYC aka Cheese Heaven. Congratulations to Rob on the opening of the 350th Murray’s Shop last week in Indiana!!
This week, Katie Kirby, the Director of Marketing at Murray’s sent my way a bit of that heaven in the form of two of the gift baskets available online at Murray’s Cheese: Holiday Celebration Collection Basket and Cave Aged Collection Basket. My-oh-my… we celebrated these baskets last night as we listened to the ocean waves break on Myrtle Beach… vacation can’t get any better than Sublime Cheeses and Soothing Ocean Sounds… my thanks to Katie.
We combined the two collections to create one over-the-top cheese board. In addition to seven sublime cheeses, the collections included Murray’s preserves, not-your- regular raw honey, Gotham booze-infused bonbon chocolates, Parma Prosciutto (which I forgot to serve…my bad…) and crackers.
My dad was a picky eater but my mom is adventurous at 88 and loves to try new foods. She fell in love with the Selles-sur-Cher and The Man was swooning over the Valencay… I barely got a taste of either of those as they “gobbled” them up… another favorite on the board was Pt. Reyes’ Bay Blue paired with White Gold Raw Honey Miel.
On the Board:
- Project X – a Murray’s creation in collaboration with Vermont’s Spring Brook Farm. This raw cow’s milk cheese is inspired by the mountain cheeses of Italy. The wheels are coated with a generous helping of herbaceous fennel pollen, followed by repeated washing of Finger Lakes’ Gewurtraminer. The paste tastes nutty with a hint of anise and chocolate. I paired it with Murray’s Cranberry Orange Preserves and a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
- Valencay imported from France’s Loire Valley which boasts many of the best goat milk cheeses in the world. This cheese also ages in the Murray’s cave with the Cheesemaster choosing the exact time to release this cheese. The Man swooned as he tasted this flat-topped pyramid with its ash-covered geotrichum candidum rind. The creamline oozed away from the lemony paste and sublimely melted on the palate… again, we had an issue with that pesky sharing concept…
- The Champlain Valley Organic Triple Cream was buttery, creamy with light notes of mushroom; everything you want from a triple cream. These disks are also received fresh at Murray’s and ripened in their caves under the ever vigilant eyes of the Cavemaster. Mom preferred the honey and The Man preferred the Cranberry Orange Preserves paired with this baby… I preferred it naked…
- Murray’s Cave Aged Selles-sur-Cher. Murray’s receives these tiny goat cheese disks “green” and then ages them in their caves in Long Island City. The result is a “Hello Gorgeous” brainy rind (from the introduction of geotrichum candidum fungus to the surface of this soft ripened cheese) over a thin creamline and paste that reminded me of freshly mown grass. As mentioned above, mom fell instantly in love with this cheese and we had trouble convincing her that sharing is a good personality trait… perfectly paired with the Sauvignon Blanc.
- No wonder the Cavemaster Reserve Hollander was my favorite; it is made from sheep milk cheese and I’ve yet to find an aged Sheep milk cheese that doesn’t grab my cheese heart. This cheese is imported from the Pyrenees and spends two months in the Murray’s caves developing one of the most beautiful rinds I have seen. The result is a lanoliny, nutty paste that hints just a touch of acid.
- Pt. Reyes Bay Blue paired with the White Gold Raw Honey Miel left us speechless. It exploded in the mouth; a perfect blend of salty, spiciness of the cheese and the sweetness of the honey. To make it more special, I added one of the Gotham booze-infused bonbons and thought a party had taken over in my mouth…holy smokes…
- The final cheese on the board came from Iowa’s Milton Creamery: Prairie Breeze, made with milk from the local Amish farms. Grassy and nutty; it’s no wonder this cheddar is a multiple award-winner.
It’s not too late to order one of these baskets or individual cheeses for your holiday celebrations but you’d better hurry to the website or call Murray’s at 888 my cheez. And from now until Saturday night get 20% off your order with the promo code MERRYCHEESE. Minimum purchase applies.
FTC disclosure, Murray’s did send these baskets to me hoping I would choose to review them; however, they also knew there was no obligation on my part, should I be disappointed in the quality of the product (note, I didn’t mention the crackers…). For a complete explanation of my sample acceptance, please visit my About Me page.