Have a Have-It-All Holiday with La Dolce Vita

You’re still looking for a gift for the holidays, huh? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Giving the gift of cheese is pretty much the in thing this year, and we’ve got a gift for pretty much everyone. It takes a single gift to transport your loved ones across oceans with some of the world’s greatest cheese. First stop? Italy.

It’s no secret that Italians do the whole eating thing right. Especially when it comes to cheese and meat. In this collection, we’ve hit up all the classic cheeses you think of when Italy is brought up – nutty Fontina, sheepy Pecorino, and spicy Gorgonzola, of course. Fontina Fontal is the epitome of the Italian table cheese, perfect for snacking with its supple paste and sweet, nutty flavor. You’ve most likely had Pecorino before – this Italian classic takes many shapes and forms, but the one we love most is hearty, crumbly, and full-flavored. The Gorgonzola is Mountain Gorgonzola, which is firm, sliceable, and delectably tangy with a hint of earthiness. Throw in the creamy La Tur, and it’s a full spread of all the amazing cheeses that Italy has to offer.

And then there’s the meat. The Italians invented salami – perfecting the process of preserving meat through salt, cool temperatures, and time. Murray’s own Sopressata is a classic salami derived from Italy’s most popular recipe, a combination of coarsely ground pork, garlic, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Our Speck is a smoked, full-muscle cut similar to silky Prosciutto, and aged in an herbed crust made up of juniper, thyme, sage, and fennel. Both pair well with the briny, peppery Castelvetrano Olives and crunchy Tarallini Crackers that accompany the gift pack.

It’s La Dolce Vita – the Sweet Life. And there’s nothing sweeter than giving cheese for the holidays. And receiving it, too!

2016 Murray’s Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again – time to think of the best, most thoughtful gift for the people in your life who mean something to you. And we have the perfect idea: Cheese! Murray’s has a number of fantastic gifts for practically everyone – from the cheese novice to the most discerning cheeselover, we bet you can find just the right kind of cheese to give this holiday season.

For the Cheese Novice

greatest-hits

So you want to introduce someone into the world of cheese, but have no clue where to start? We introduce Murray’s Greatest Hits. Think of this as the Hall of Fame for cheeses. A crash course, if you will. Taking some of the most famous cheeses from around the world, we pair them with cherry jam, Blenheim apricots, and olive oil crackers for a truly blissful intro into the cheese world.

For the Patriot

american-artisans

America is sometimes overlooked when it comes to cheese, but no longer! The American Artisans gift set is packed with the tastes of America – delicate creamy Vermont goat cheese, sassy California blues, and even Murray’s own Calabrese salami. Take your loved one on a flavor tour from one coast to the other to enjoy the majestic flavors of the good ol’ USA.

For the World Traveler

europass

Look no further than the Europass – a box full of everyone’s favorite European cheeses, delivered right to your giftee’s door. Everything from nutty Challerhocker from Switzerland, to delicately sweet French Persille de Rambouillet, and earthy Mrs. Quicke’s English Cheddar. The only thing that would make this group better is some caramely Ewephoria and creamy Taleggio, drizzled in decadent Serramel Oak Honey – oh wait, they get that too!

For the Cheeselover Who Has Everything

top-shelf

This is for your cheeselover with refined tastes, who has tried everything and wants only the best. We’re not saying they need to wear top hats and raise their pinkies as they dive into this gift, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt. The Top Shelf has it all – luxurious whipped honey, the best Jambon Iberico in the world, and beautiful aged blues will make the recipient of this luxe gift feel like royalty.

For the Meat Lover

the cure

Listen, we know not everyone loves cheese (we’re not sure why, exactly, but these things happen). But The Cure features no cheese – just meat, glorious meat! From Italian speck to Foie Gras to La Quercia’s spreadable Nduja, this box is packed with more varieties of carnivorous delight than your favorite meat-eater will know what to do with. 8 types of meat and a chutney, to boot!

But a gift from Murray’s doesn’t have to be just for the holiday season! With our Monthly Clubs, you can have meat and cheese delivered to your door each month. It’s the cheesy gift that keeps on giving!

The Epoisses-abilities are Limitless

There’s an apocryphal story starring this unassuming looking cheese – so pungent, so stinky when its scent is allowed to waft through the air, it was apparently banned from being transported on the Paris Metro. There’s no truth behind it, of course, as Epoisses has always been considered one of France’s greatest traditional cheeses. But it’s a great story nonetheless. AOC protected – meaning that only certain areas in France can make Epoisses as we know it – this washed rind cheese is practically French royalty. Even Napoleon was a fan of this rosy beauty. And you can find it at Murray’s!

This unctuous, pasteurized cow’s milk round comes far from Burgundy, France to join us in our shops, and we’re glad it made the trip. This cheese dates back to the sixteenth century, and was popular all the way up until the early 1900s, when over 300 farms were making Epoisses. But when the Second World War hit France, production almost completely died out. It was nearly a decade after the war had ended before Epoisses was made again. Now, the cheese is just as treasured as it once was, returned to its pre-war glory.

To get its signature funk, this cheese’s curd are carefully hand-ladled into forms, then dry salted. Taking a turn in a French cave, it is washed daily in a mixture of water and a pomace brandy, which helps to develop its signature funk and rosy orange complexion. Flavorwise, it adds bacony, woodsy notes to each delectable bite.

When Epoisses arrives stateside, it has only been aging for a month or so, and should be so gooey and creamy that you can practically slurp up the paste. This custardy bacon bomb even gets shipped in a little wooden box – all you have to do is simply slice into the wheel, then spoon onto a crusty baguette. Or just start dunking into the paste – you’ll be happy you did. A fairly photogenic cheese, right?

 

Pairings We’re Thankful For this Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is here! There is plenty to be thankful for in a world where amazing cheeses and meats are around every corner. While we’re planning out our Thanksgiving cheese plates to share with family and friends, we wanted to share with you the cheese pairings that we are most thankful for this holiday season! Maybe it’ll give you some inspiration for your own cheesy Thanksgiving dishes.

holiday cheese

Ossau Iraty with Murray’s Apple Butter and Walnuts

murrays apple butter

There’s a lot to love with Ossau Iraty – and it’s been around for a while! Ossau is considered by some to be one of the oldest cheeses ever produced, so there’s been plenty of time to come up with the perfect pairings for this toasty, nutty cheese. To embody the flavors of crisp fall air and warm nights by the fire, we love to smear a little bit of Murray’s Apple Butter onto a rustic baguette, with a handful of walnuts on the side.

Annelies with Big Picture Farm Goat Milk Caramel and Hazelnuts

annelies alpine cheese

We’re thankful this year for our new relationship with Walter Rass of Challerhocker fame – he’s been sending us exclusive wheels of his raw cow’s milk cheese to age in The Murray’s Caves. We manage, after at least 9 months of aging, to coax out flavors of butterscotch and cocoa from the Alpine we’ve dubbed Annelies. Goat Milk Caramels are perfect with this nutty sweet cheese, as are a bowl full of crunchy toasted hazelnuts. A little bit of toasty sweetness to round out your holiday.

Stichelton with Hedene Miel du Jura Honey and Anarchy in a Jar Strawberry Balsamic Preserves

hedene-honey-sapin-jura-web-280a2927

Stichelton is basically Stilton’s milder, crowd-pleasing brother. As we gather friends and family, we know not everyone loves blue cheese, so we’re thankful for this rich, creamy blue that can win just about anyone over. A drizzle of Jura honey from Hedene brings out the deep, woodsy flavors, while a jar of Anarchy in a Jar Strawberry Balsamic Preserves balances that sweet and savory combo that any good blue cheese should have.

Rush Creek Reserve with La Quercia Speck Americano and Potter’s Applewood Smoked Crackers

rush creek reserve cheese

With winter fast approaching, we get to appreciate a new batch of the highly seasonal raw cow’s milk, Rush Creek. Inspired by the French Vacherin Mont d’Or and only available in the winter time, Rush Creek gets wrapped in spruce bark and becomes an unctuous, bacony delight. You could just cut off the top and spoon out the woodsy paste – but we love to dollop it on a Potter’s Applewood Smoked Cracker with a ribbon of velvety Speck Americano.

Slack Ma Girdle with Hayden Flour Mills Red Fife Crackers and Jambon de Bayonne

slack ma girdle english cheese

 Okay, its name might be a little bit ridiculous, but trust us when we say that this nettle-crusted raw cow’s milk is something to be thankful for. Wrapped in bark and as creamy and spoonable as the Rush Creek Reserve, Slack Ma Girdle is herbaceous and funky all in one – an adventure in cheese form. Spoon onto a rustic, nutty cracker like the Hayden Flour Mills Red Fife Cracker, and feast upon this English beauty with a few thin slices of salty, briny Jambon de Bayonne.

Boo! The Scariest Cheeses for Halloween

scary cheese

Scary gorgeous photo by Carey Nershi

Happy Halloween! It’s time for ghosts and goblins and other scary things. Cheese doesn’t have to be one of them, but it certainly can be. What better time than now for brainy rinds and sizable stink factor? There’s nothing to be afraid of. Promise.

Bonne BoucheBonne Bouche is the flagship of Vermont Creamery’s signature aged goat cheeses. Made with pasteurized goat’s milk, the curd is carefully hand-ladled into molds, lightly sprinkled with ash, and aged just long enough to develop a wrinkly, brain-like rind. Reminiscent of Loire Valley favorites like Selles Sur Cher, Bonne Bouche also pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc.Frighteningly good.

Murray’s CaveMaster Reserve Greensward: If giant, funky flavor and oozy goodness scare you, don’t read on. Creating a new cheese is hard work! After tons of experimentation, we’ve arrived at perfection. Perfect spoonable, silky texture. Perfect big, bacony flavor. Perfect notes of forest and resin from Greensward’s pretty spruce jacket. The perfect collaboration with Jasper Hill. For even more perfection, open a light Gamay, or bourbon, and dive into this beauty with pieces of crusty bread.

stinky_murrays_cave_aged_epoisseÉpoisses: Don’t be afraid of the stink! You may not know it, but Époisses is actually a French word meaning “completely worth the effort”—either that or “stinky but incredibly loveable” because the end result, a custardy bacon bomb, is oh-so-worth-it. One slurp of the intensely creamy paste of this French classic, and you’ll know why we go to such lengths to ensure that this unctuous pasteurized cow’s milk round, made in Burgundy, France, is so delightfully decadent. After near extinction in France during the World Wars, Époisses de Bourgogne was resurrected in the 1950s by our beloved M. Berthaut. After being carefully hand-ladled into forms and dry-salted, each wheel takes a turn in French cave. Tucked into a clever wooden box meant to ease transport to our fair shores, serving Époisses isn’t nearly as difficult as aging it—slice a crusty baguette and dunk away, adding a glass of Burgundian white for terroir-driven perfection.

Coupole: Another wrinkly beauty from Vermont Creamery. As it ages, the pristine, velvety edible rind softens the fresh chevre beneath to an unctuous creamline. The resulting two textures of its cross-section make for a stunning visual presentation; this is an ideal selection for a stand alone cheese or first position of a cheese plate. Pair with a dry, grassy white.