Featuring Our French Faves for Cheese Week!

We wouldn’t be much of a cheese shop if we didn’t have an undying love for French cheeses. This week is Cheese Week, so of course we turned to our favorite cheeses to highlight during the festivities. The French have given us so much when it comes to cheese – and it’s not just the humble Brie. France has given us cheeses that run the gamut – creamy Camemberts, herbal chevres, nutty sheep’s milks, and minerally blues. We”d love to tell you about our favorite Frenchies, just in time to inspire your own Cheese Week celebrations!

Murray’s Camembert

We know your first thought when we talk about French cheese is Brie – but instead, why not try a little wheel of Camembert? Historically inspired by the Brie recipe (it was said to be passed down by a priest who had come from the province of Brie, but the recipe was corrupted in the telling), Camembert is creamier, more mushroomy, and has an earthiness that really tastes as though you’re enjoying it in the fields of France.

Murray’s Delice

If you’re looking for creamy, buttery sweet cheese, look no further than the land of Burgundy. Not only do they have delectable wine, but their cheese cannot be beat – Delice de Bourgogne is full of fresh milk flavors, with hints of sweet cream and clean hay. You can start your day with Delice paired with apricots and drizzled with honey as a tasty breakfast – or dessert if you add a glass of champagne on the side.

Valencay

The Loire Valley has created oh so many chevre cheeses, but Valencay stands out. Stories say that it was originally shaped like a pyramid, but when Napoleon returned from his military failings in Egypt, he demanded the pointed tops be removed, even going so far as to slice them off himself with his sword. While we’re not sure how true that is, the stunted pyramid shape remains, and the minerally, piquant goat’s milk is still one of our faves.

Ossau Iraty

If you’re looking for ancient traditions, you’ve found it. It’s said that Ossau Iraty is one of the first cheeses ever produced, and it’s only gotten better with age. Warm, buttery sheep’s milk curds are heated and pressed – think rich, toasty wheat aromas, and nutty, grassy-sweet flavors that make it that sort of cheese that stands up against anything – bold reds, toasty brown ales, whatever you’d like to pair it with.

Fourme d’Ambert

A blue developed so early on that the Druids and Gauls were said to have worked together to create it (read: a veryyyyy long time ago). It’s even said to go back to the Roman occupation of France nearly 1,000 years ago! They obviously perfected the recipe over the years, because we love nothing more than the earthy, mushroomy cheese with hints of sweetness and an amazing velvety texture. Even the staunchest blue hater will fall in love with this Frenchie.

To celebrate Cheese Week, we’ve got some great discounts on some of our French Faves! Check it out! 

Make Whey For… Stichelton!

The holidays are about bringing people together. We love to gather around with our friends and family, enjoying each other’s company. Of course, adding good food into the mix is always an added bonus. This year, we are taking a leaf out of the Brit’s book and breaking out our favorite Stilton and a bit of port. But, of course, it wouldn’t be Murray’s if we didn’t put a little twist on it – it’s time to meet Stichelton

Stilton’s greatest competition, Stichelton is the raw milk recipe of England’s most well-known blue cheese. Each wheel is made by hand, and is a spicy-sweet homage to its older brother. In fact, Stichelton is what Stilton once was – it uses Stilton’s original, raw-milk recipe, which was switched over to the pasteurized version in 1996t. Stichelton, because of its raw milk, could not be called ‘Stilton’ because of the protected designation of origin or PDO, which specified what cheeses could or couldn’t be called Stilton. But Stichelton, because of its raw milk, has a piquancy that the normal Stilton simply cannot rival. Whether it is the soft creaminess that coats the palate, or the lingering caramel sweetness that hides beneath the bite of blue, Stichelton will blow the Stilton you know out of the water.

So why Stichelton and Port? In yesteryear, this was a classic dish enjoyed during the holidays – to serve a wheel (or sometimes half a wheel) of Stilton infused with port wine. This dessert wine has always paired best with Stilton and other tangy blue cheeses, but it’s taken to a whole new level with Stichelton. It is truly a way to bring people together and will be talked about for years to come.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Pick up a wheel of Stichelton – or half a wheel, depending on how many people you’re planning on hosting. If you go for the full wheel, you’re going to have to remove the top (try and keep it as flat as possible, so you don’t have an uneven surface).
  2. Start scooping around the edge of the cheese with a spoon, creating a sort of moat with the edge of the rind and the center of the cheese remaining. Stick that cheese you scooped out to the side – you can nibble on it as you go.
  3. Through the middle of the wheel, prick the cheese from top to bottom with a thick skewer, creating a hole where you can start pouring that Port into. Put several more holes through the moat you’ve scooped.
  4. Now, grab a funnel, because it’s time to pour that Port! Pour slowly, letting the liquid flow into and irrigate the blue cheese veins.
  5. When the holes have all been filled, and if you kept the top of your cheese flat, you can pour the Port directly on top too. Fair warning: since the cheese is a bit porous, the port will start seeping out eventually – all you have to do is make sure that you serve this bad boy in a deep bowl, then wrap it in plastic wrap until it’s ready to serve. Depending on how strong you want that port to soak, you can do it anywhere from a few hours before, or two weeks before you serve that wheel.

When it’s time to roll out the Stichelton, serving it with pears and walnuts is the tradition. But feel free to try something new and exciting – maybe spread the Port-Stichelton over one of Jan’s Farmhouse Cranberry & Pistachio Crisps. Want a little bit of extra sweetness? Top each bite with a dab of Black Cherry Confit. Let everyone dig into the wheel with their own spoons, serving as they like. It’ll be both a delicious centerpiece and quite the talking point for the holidays.

 

Summer Snacks: Peppablues!

By: Summer Babiarz

This week my Weight Watchers leader emphasized getting a lot of flavor into your food. I see her point. I do tend to graze less throughout the day if I have had something that is truly flavorful and satisfying. So with the idea of big bold flavors in mind I would like to introduce to you the glistening, fire engine red, juicebombs that are Peppadews! These little guys pack a lot of punch with very few calories. They are sweet, spicy and tangy all at the same time. If you stuff these hallow little wonders with almost any firm or crumbly cheese your taste buds will thank you

In honor of the upcoming 4th of July holiday, I have chosen to pack them to the brim with Rogue River Blue from Oregon.  Rogue River Creamery  has been a leader in American artisan cheesemaking for over 80 years. This cheese in particular is a monger favorite behind the counter at Murray’s because it is punchy and yet well balanced. It doesn’t hurt that it is soaked in pear brandy and presents its leaf-wrapped gorgeouness on a cheese board in a way that makes you look like a rockstar. Whatever the reasons- professional cheesemongers love this cheese and it’s no accident.

Peppablues!

Inspired by the scarcity of great blue cheese in America, Founder of Rogue River Blue Tom Vella and his wife traveled to France in the early 1950s in search of Roquefort. Mr. Vella was able to win over the highly secretive Roquefort Association with  his charming personality and bilingual education. He was presented with a gold pass signed by all functionaries of the Roquefort Society. This granted him access to study every step of Roquefort-making from the functionality of farms to aging cheese in the limestone caves at Cambalou.  With that knowledge he founded this American cheesemaking powerhouse  and they seem to only get better at balancing these big bold flavors.

Peppablues are a healthy and smart appetizer for a picnic or BBQ and they fit right in with all their red, white and blue glory.

 

Peppablues (3.5 points, 2 servings = 7 points total)

2 oz Rogue River Blue

10 ea Peppadews

5 Ways to Have a Blue Christmas

Here at Murray’s we have been raving about Roquefort all month long. Can you blame us? Roquefort is classic, tasty and versatile, perfect for this time of year when lots of people are entertaining.

After we nearly had to say au revoir forever we renewed our love for this French beauty and never looked back. Let’s just say we hope it’s standing nearby when the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve.

And to improve the odds of that happening, here are 5 tasty ways to enjoy one of our favorite cheeses.  Bon appetit!

1. Fresh endive leaves topped with crumbled Roquefort, candied nuts and a dried cherry or cranberry. Sweet. Salty. Crunchy. Awesome.

2. Spread some Roquefort on a fig and wrap it in prosciutto. OH YEAH.

3. Serve a hunk of Roquefort au naturale. With a nice Sauternes on the side. Why mess with a classic?

4. Top your favorite cracker with some Roquefort and drizzle with honey. This sweet treat is the bees knees.

5. Whip it! Roquefort whipped with equal parts butter and cream cheese or sour cream makes an excellent dip. Whip it good! Veggies, chips and all things dip-able will be the perfect companion.

Super Bowl Recipe: Smokey Blue Cheese Dip

Nobody is more patriotic than Murray’s Field Merchandising Specialist Nathan Aldridge (see photographic evidence). As such, one of Nathan’s favorite holidays is coming up soon: Super Bowl Sunday! This year, make Nathan’s blue cheese dip the highlight of your viewing party.

As a cheesemonger I’ve been asked many times for my suggestions for parties, gatherings, weddings, birthdays, you name it.  This time of year however, I do not wait to be asked for my educated opinion.  I yell it from the mountain tops! You can’t watch the Super Bowl without eating chicken wings, and you can’t eat chicken wings with out blue cheese dressing!  That would be like watching the Super Bowl and skipping the commercials.

My favorite Super Bowl Blue Cheese is Rogue Creamery’s Smokey Blue.  For the last 5 years, this dip has been the highlight of every ceremonial chicken wing eating event I have hosted(aka the Super Bowl). The smokiness of this particular blue cheese adds a rustic, woodsy flavor to the dip.  It’s also delightful with carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery (for those of you who like to nibble on the lighter side).

Smokey Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
dash black pepper
1/2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1/4 c milk
2 tbsp. vinegar
2c  mayonnaise
3/4c crumbled Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue

Directions:
Blend together dry spices then add the Worscestershire sauce. Add the milk then let sit for a few minutes, to dissolve the spices.  Have the mayonnaise measured out as well as the smokey blue cheese crumbles before you add the vinegar to the milk mixture.

Add the vinegar to the milk mixture. It will start to curdle: this is normal.

Add the mayonnaise and whisk together well.  When blended, add the Smokey Blue crumbles.

The longer you let the dressing refrigerate, the better the flavor will be. I suggest preparing 2 days before chow time.

Yield: 3 cups (if you need to make more, make 2 batches, DO NOT double the recipe, the flavors will not blend as well.)

Enjoy!  You can thank me later.