What happens in our Murray’s Caves in Long Island City is true cheese magic. Affinage, or the cheese aging process, is a meticulous science that often produces delicious and surprising results, and the members of our Caves Team are engineers in creating brand new cheeses and remixes of old favorites. Our line of Cave Aged releases takes traditional cheeses from makers you know and love, and ages them in our state-of-the-art affinage system to bring out new flavors and textures without any additives, flavoring, or special experimentation.
The result? Releases like the new Cave Aged Tarentaise Reserve, a two-year version of Spring Brook Farm’s award-winning Tarentaise. Modeled after the French cheese Abondance, Tarentaise is beloved for being firm and slightly crunchy, with gentle notes of spice and a bright sweetness reminiscent of pineapple. We sat down with Head Cavemaster PJ to get the inside scoop on how the aging process turned this classic into a brand new selection.
What was the development process behind this new release?
The development of this cheese was straightforward, but it resulted in a very complex cheese. We knew from past experience that Tarentaise is a cheese that holds up well to extra aging. We base this mostly on the moisture content and the rate of flavor development. With this in mind, we extended our normal aging process from one year to two years. It received weekly attention from our Caves staff, consisting of a light wash and a flip.
Did you expect the final results you achieved?
We expected that this cheese would age out well, and we knew we would have something delicious in the end, but we didn’t know exactly what to expect with the flavor profile. We were particularly surprised with the texture, which ended up much creamier than the regular Tarentaise. The extra year of aging really broke down the protein structure within the cheese.
Affinage affects different styles of cheeses in different ways. How was the aging process intended to change this cheese in particular?
We were hoping that the extra year of aging would intensify everything that we already love about Spring Brook Farm’s Tarentaise. We were mostly correct, but there were some twists.
How does its profile differ from Spring Brook’s original Tarentaise?
We found this version of Tarentaise to be exceptionally savory. There were heavy notes of broth and roast beef. There was also a vegetal quality that reminded me of sauteed spinach. I found the acidity to be significantly lower than the original Tarentaise, and there wasn’t quite as much sweetness.
What would you personally pair with this aged Tarentaise?
I think a crisp glass of Fino would be perfect with this extra aged Tarentaise.
Want to learn more about this new release and the rest of our Cave Aged favorites? You can find all the cheeses from our Caves right here.