Spring is in Full Bloom – and so are Our Cheeses!

It’s official: Spring has finally sprung. Sure, we might still be a little chilly, but we know that flowers are getting ready to bloom and little baby cows, goats, and sheep will soon be joining the world. Then suddenly, there will be bloomy cheese everywhere! We’re definitely not complaining – we love these young, soft cheeses made from milk that comes fresh from the pastures and goes straight into becoming cheese. They’re only aged for a month or so, allowing them to keep the grassy, fresh milkiness that we know and love them for. To celebrate spring, here’s a few of our favorite bloomy rinded, warm(ish) weather cheeses! 

Kunik

Out of the South Adirondacks, comes this triple threat. First, a layer of lemony goat’s milk is enriched with fatty Jersey cow cream, to create a mushroomy, intensely buttery flavor and the utmost decadent paste. Murray’s buys these cheeses as soon as they’re made, then let them spend a little time ripening in our Long Island City caves. The hints of minerals from the fresh pastures at the foot of the South Adirondacks are coaxed out during this time, and it makes it the best cheese to have with a sparkling, fruity rose.

Hudson Flower

Speaking of flowers blooming, our Hudson Flower is ready to grace your cheese plate. Young wheels of decadent sheep’s milk from the nearby Old Chatham Cheese Company are sent to our caves, where they then receive a fresh coat of rosemary, lemon thyme, marjoram, elderberries, and hop flowers, a flavorful blend based on the sheep’s springtime diet. These bright herbs impart a certain woodsy, floral aroma that always get us in a  springtime sort of mood and make an unforgettable flavor.

Up in Smoke

Every time we carefully pull back the edges of the maple leaves that wrap up this rindless chevre like a gift, we feel like we’re welcoming spring itself. The incredible balance of deep, smoky richness and clean minerality comes from the diet of the goats, who are set to pasture year round. But we love it best in the spring time, where the lemony, grassy goat’s milk is at its best. The little round is then smoked over alder and maplewood, then wrapped in leaves and misted with bourbon. These citrusy nuggets are the epitome of bright, crisp spring cheeses.

St. Stephen

These small, bloomy wheels come from the Hudson Valley creamery, Four Fat Fowl. A triple creme made with the cream from Jersey cows (arguably the best, creamiest milk there is), these little wheels are delicately buttery, with hints of sun-dried wheat, newly emerged grass, and sweet cream beneath the pillowy rind. If we’re talking about local terroir (that taste of place we love), you know we’re talking about St. Stephen. If you’re looking for even more of that fresh spring flavor, drizzle it with local wildflower honey, and find something bubbly to drink.

Coupole

The brainchild of one of America’s most innovative and groundbreaking cheese makers, Allison Hooper of Vermont Creamery, this beauty is made with fresh pasteurized goat’s milk that comes from family farms. Once those farms are teeming with baby goats is when this cheese really starts to shine. The fresh, grassy notes are brightened with the velvety paste and unctuous creamline. We want to celebrate this perfection (and the blooming of springtime) with a glass of something sparkling. Go classic with a French champagne or an American cider.

 

Get the Luck o’ the Cheese Lover with this St. Paddy’s Day Collection

With St. Patrick’s Day being today and all, we here at Murray’s wanted to spend a little time giving love to our favorite flavors of the Emerald Isle. From boggy, mineral rich pastures to the lush, green fields of the southeast’s “Garden of Ireland”, the cheese of Ireland delight our dairy-loving hearts! Ireland has a bounty of delicious treasures to discover, and we’re ready to lead you on a tour of them. 

Irish Cheddar

The green wax this cheese comes in is not just for decoration – it reflects the those lush green fields that make the southeast of Ireland known as the “Garden of Ireland”. It’s more temperate from the other parts of the country, and leave the sunny pigment in the grass and in the cheese. The cheddars that come out of this region are buttery and grassy, with sweet and fruity flavors. The wax seals in the moisture of the cheese, making it sliceable and great for melting into sandwiches or with a pint of Guinness on the side (we really suggest you enjoy with the latter).

Cashel Blue

You know Cashel Blue – over the past few weeks, we’ve hardly stopped talking about it. And for good reason. This is the taste of traditional Irish cheesemaking, with its own unique twist. The Grubb family left England and brought their buttermaking and dairy business over to Ireland over some religious differences – that was over 300 years ago. The Grubb family got by with their buttermaking business for a bit of time, but it wasn’t until the mid-80s that they changed direction by creating Ireland’s first blue cheese. And oh, is it good. Voluptuous and creamy, with a minerally undertone, it is complemented by a delightful mild blue tang – an excellent beginner blue. They even get that grassiness that we love, since the cheese is made from milk when the cows are out to pasture.

Grazier’s Edge

Okay, to be fair, this is kind of cheating. Grazier’s Edge is an American classic, not an Irish one. But St. Patrick’s Day is just as popular here as it is over in Ireland (if not more so given the parade that is happening today here in New York). And this pungent delight from Minnesota does have a bit of an Irish twist. We like to think of it as the American version of Ardrahan – a stinky washed rind from Duhallow in the County Cork. Grazier’s Edge is washed in St. Paul’s own whiskey – 11 Wells Rye – which leaves the cheese strong, ye approachable with notes of creamed sweet corn and grass. If you’re going to enjoy this cheese, break open that nice bottle of Irish whiskey you’ve been saving.

We pair these three cheeses with citrusy Orange & Bourbon Marmalade (dollop heavily on top of that Cashel Blue, you’ll thank us later) and rustic Brown Bread Crackers. They make up the ultimate collection for celebrating a truly Irish St. Paddy’s Day – great for having people over or prepping for a long day of pub crawls and parades. We promise, you’ll be dancing an Irish jig when you’re done.

Ireland: Lush Land of Cheeses

With St. Patrick’s day only a few days away, we wanted to put the spotlight on some of our favorite Irish cheeses! Irish cheesemaking is relatively young to the world, unlike the ancient practices of France and Italy. But that certainly doesn’t make them any less delicious – Ireland had a vast history of buttermaking, so dairies were already up and running before the cheese started flowing. In fact, Ireland’s lush and rich pastures make it the perfect place to milk cows and create rich, grassy cheeses. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites, ready for you to devour just in time for St. Paddy’s Day! 

15 Fields Irish Cheddar

The Lonergan Family farm, in the heart of Ireland, is made up of 15 expansive fields on which their cattle graze. With fresh grass from April to October, the raw cow’s milk is cheddared and wrapped in a traditional cloth binding. After almost a year of aging, the 15 Fields cheddar still retains that sweet grass notes in its compact, smooth paste. More intense notes of nuttiness and bold meatiness grow the closer you get to the rind, balancing out that delightful sweetness and acidity. A true farmhouse cheese from the Emerald Isle, enjoy with a farmhouse ale.

Grubb Family Cashel Blue

You know the story already, about how the Grubb family was kicked out of England 300 years ago for religious differences. The Grubbs made their new home in County Tipperary, Ireland, taking up millering and buttermaking. To this day, Louis and Jane still keep the family’s dairy traditions alive. In the mid 1980’s, they developed the first Irish Blue, nurtured and exported by Neal’s Yard Dairy. Cashel is made with the milk of the Grubbs’ 110 Friesian cows, pasteurized, and ripened for two and up to six months. It maintains a unique, voluptuous, creamy texture with a minerally undertone complemented by a delightful, mild blue tang. The best cheeses are made from April to October when the cows are out to pasture – and hey, what do you know? That’s which wheels we order!

Murray’s Irish Cheddar

This is one of those cheeses that totally tastes like the place it comes from (hint: it’s called terroir!) Cow’s milk picks up a sunny pigment from the lush pastures growing in southeast Ireland’s temperate climes, known as the “Garden of Ireland.” Buttery and grassy, with sweet and fruity flavors, and kept moist with an ever-so-Irish green wax. Slice it for sandwiches, melt it on noodles, or munch it with pickles – honestly, whatever you decide to do with it will be delicious. The perfect creamy pal for a mug of stout or Irish Whiskey. Like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but better (because it’s cheese)!

Make Whey For… Cashel Blue!

It’s a week until St. Paddy’s Day, and in case you couldn’t tell from our website, we are excited! We wanted to kick off the festivities by introducing one of our favorite Irish cheeses – Cashel Blue! But in order to do that, we’re going to have to dive into the history of Ireland just a little bit. 

Political differences usually don’t lead to good things, but it did lead to this fantastic cheese. 300 years ago, the Grubb Family got booted out of England, and retreated to County Tipperary in Ireland. It wasn’t ideal but they made a great life out of it, turning to milling and buttermaking with a herd of 110 Friesian cows. In the past, Ireland had been limited in its cheese production due to the overwhelming export of Irish butter. Irish butter is as highly valued as the pot at the end of the rainbow – golden, grass-fed, sweet and rich. The best part about selling butter was that it didn’t require any aging, so the farmer’s profits could be collected immediately.

It wasn’t until the mid 1980’s that they began to develop what would become Ireland’s first blue cheese – Cashel Blue. It was adopted by Neal’s Yard Dairy, cheese affineur-extraordinaires, who saw something special in Cashel’s sapphire blue veins.

And we have to agree! It might be the first Irish Blue, but we think it’s the best. This blue is voluptuous and creamy, the sort of thing that is fudgy but just happens to melt in your mouth. Each bite reveals a minerally undertone, which compliments the mild, approachable blue tang of the veins. The cheese is made from April to October, and for good reason – this is when the cows are out to pasture, and there milk is full of grassy, herbal notes. Southern Ireland, where the Grubbs settled, is perfect for cheesemaking from the lush green pastures to the boggy, nutrient rich earth.

Want to know more about some of Ireland’s best cheeses and treats? Check back here next week for a full outline of our fave Irish treats!

Victory Never Tasted So Cheesy!

It’s official! Murray’s cheeses are winners, simple as that. Murray’s, in collaboration with some of the country’s best cheese makers, is proud to take home even more recognition for our original creations! This week, four of our Cavemaster Reserve cheeses took home awards at the annual United States Championship Cheese Contest held in Green Bay, Wisconsin. While we know that our cheeses are delicious, it’s amazing to see our cheesy creations stack up with some of the best in the country!

Hudson Flower

A collaboration with Old Chatham Sheepherding Company of Old Chatham, NY, earned Best of Class honors in the Flavored Soft & Semi-Soft Sheep’s Milk Cheese category, and for good reason! An American twist on a Corsican classic, Hudson Flower is made by Old Chatham, then sent to NYC where it is dressed in a secret blend of rosemary, lemon, thyme, marjoram, elderberries, and hop flowers before taking a rest in Murray’s state-of-the-art caves. Celebrate Murray’s win with a glass of champagne, some dried apricots, and a wheel of this floral wonder.

Greensward

Created by Murray’s Cheese and Jasper Hill Farm of Greensboro, VT, Greensward earned the Second Award in the Smear Ripened Soft Cheese category. Greensward also was recognized as the #1 Soft-Ripened Washed Rind Cheese and 3rd overall Best of Show by the American Cheese Society in 2016 – meaning there were plenty of stinky cheese in attendance, but Greensward beat almost all! So this creamy, bacony stunner is clearly not a competitor to be overlooked. Recreate Greensward’s best moments with a few slices of speck and a jar of cornichons.

Barden Blue

Made with Consider Bardwell of Vermont, this big blue earned Third Award for Blue Veined Cheeses with Exterior Molding. This cow’s milk classic is mellow, grassy, and perfectly aged by our Caves team. Think of it like lying in a fresh green pasture in the middle of spring – it’s really that good. The judges saw Barden as that versatile blue you’ve been dying to try – you could have it with some robust, herbal pancetta or a bar of bitter, bold dark chocolate. Either way, you’re going to love it.

Cornelia

A natural-rind cheese developed by Point Reyes Farmstead Co., Cornelia was recognized Fourth Overall in the Smear Ripened Semi-Soft cheese category. Needless to say, we’re pretty proud of our girl! She boasts a sophisticated palate of roasted peanuts and fresh milk. She’s our favorite during the summertime, simultaneously reminding us of picnics in the park and baseball games with the family.