There are so many great, knowledgeable people who work at Murray’s that we wanted to highlight some of them and ask some cheese-centric questions!
This month, meet Greselda, a Cheesemonger at the Murray’s Bleecker St. Flagship Store.
Where are you originally from?
I was raised and grew up in Savannah, Georgia. Later on, I went to college at Georgia Tech, in Atlanta, and when my family retired, they went back to Atlanta, so my home home is in Atlanta!
How did you first get into cheese?
Well, I moved up to New Jersey in 2000, to work as a telecommunications engineer. A couple of years later, I was reading in Time Out Magazine about this Cheese 101 class and I thought, “Alright I’ll check it out”. So, I ended up taking Cheese 101 at Murray’s over ten years ago, and I really became enamored with cheese. Before then, cheese was cheddar, old Amsterdam, and Government cheese (yuck). I started taking a lot of Murray’s Cheese classes. I took them on and off for about eight years.
About four years ago I got laid off, and so I decided to retire! At that time I was not only taking cheese classes, but I was volunteering at cheese classes to get free cheese! So after I retired, I decided to go up to Vermont for a retreat and found this thing called the Vermont Cheese Trail Map, and started visiting cheesemakers. While I was visiting with them, I was enamored by the love and the passion of cheesemakers and was just blown away by the awesome cheeses that I found in Vermont. From there, I also started taking cheese classes up in Vermont (along with Murray’s classes, of course), I started taking cheese making and fermentation classes, and I realized that this is what I really want to do as my second career, my second act.
I did everything except for affinage, and so, in the Summer of last year, I did for an internship in Murray’s Caves to learn affinage. From there, I met with Murray’s HR, and next thing you know, I’m working behind the counter as Cheesemonger!
What is your favorite cheese at the moment?
Paski Sir, a sheep’s milk cheese from Croatia. I love the hard and crumbly texture, the savoriness, nuttiness, and saltiness of that cheese.
In this hot weather, I find it’s great with cold summer fruits like melons and cherries. So I’ve been eating thinly shaved Paski Sir with a lot of Summer fruits. That saltiness really works well in contrast with the sweetness of the fruit.
What’s your favorite thing that your Murray’s sells?
The frikin’ Murray’s Granola! That stuff is like crack! It is so good. I’ve given it as gifts to friends, which was a big mistake, because now I find myself shipping Murray’s Granola all over the country. It’s not overly sweet, has some maple syrup sweetness, and has all these wonderful nuts, particularly Brazil nuts. It makes me feel guilty eating it for breakfast, I should be eating it for dessert!
What do you love about Murray’s?
There’s a lot of things I really love about this place. First of all, Murray’s knows its cheeses. You can walk in, and get blown away and overwhelmed by the immense variety of cheese, but we are taught as mongers to help customers make the cheese approachable. I love the variety and the fact that I get to help customers explore and discovery all the variety that we have to offer.
The other thing is, it’s just a fun place to be. As a former customer and now a Cheesemonger working here, I love to tell anyone who asks about taking our cheese classes. It’s just a fun way to spend an evening. All the cheese and wine that you want to drink and eat, having something that will stimulate you intellectually and it’s just plain fun. What’s a better way to spend an evening?