2017: A Year in Cheese

The final days of 2017 have us in a reflective mood here at Murray’s. As we cement our resolutions and look forward to sharing our plans with you for the coming year, we are also taking stock of the last 12 months. We hit some major milestones this year, and we sold a lot of cheese—over half a million pounds in New York alone. Because we are in that transitional space between taking one calendar down and pinning another up, we figured we’d use this time to collate the most noteworthy moments of 2017 and put them all in one place. This is what a year in cheese looks like.

Murray’s Releases Stockinghall Cheddar

For years, we have been collaborating with some of our favorite cheesemakers to age their wheels in our caves, but this year marked the first time we released a cheese that we developed from scratch. That cheese is Stockinghall Cheddar, a classically clothbound truckle with meaty flavors of bacon and sour cream. It was created by our caves team in conjunction with Cornell University, where we shape the wheels before bringing them down to NYC for aging. We feel like proud parents, only instead of raising these wheels up and sending them off to college, we’re doing it in reverse.

The American Cheese Society Awards

The future is bright for Stockinghall, not least because it’s hanging out in our caves with a bunch of stars. This year’s American Cheese Society festival was held in Denver, CO, and three of our cave aged cheeses took home prizes in their respective categories. Greensward was voted best soft-ripened washed rind cheese in America for the second year in a row, and the third time in four years. Hudson Flower took top honors among sheep cheeses with flavor added, and Project X earned third place among all aged washed rind cheeses. Special shout out to our pals up at Spring Brook Farm for taking home Best in Show with their terrific Tarentaise Reserve.

400th Store

Murray’s began partnering with Kroger in 2008 to expand the grocer’s specialty cheese program across the country. It’s been such a success that this November we opened our 400th location, in Houston, TX.

Kroger Makes it Official

And we are looking forward to opening in many more stores next year, as Kroger officially purchased Murray’s back in February. This gives us the ability to expand the reach of our mission of providing the best cheeses in the world. It also means we had a prodigious send-off for our previous owner, Rob Kaufelt, who transformed Murray’s from a corner village mart into one of the country’s top destinations for artisanal cheese.

New Murray’s Label Products

Along with a wider reach, we also brought some excellent new cheeses into our private line. From classic blue Stilton to the delectably creamy Delice de Bourgogne, you can now get more great cheese with our seal of approval. We’ve debuted some top-notch preserves, too. Our Preserved Pumpkin and Preserved Walnuts are both complete stunners, bringing a new possibilities to your pairing habit.

We’ll be rolling out more goodness in 2018, and we can’t wait for you to try it all. Until then, thanks so much for making 2017 a great year in cheese. Have yourself a happy New Year, and don’t forget to have some cheese with your midnight champagne.

Cheeses to Bring the Spring

The beginning of spring always seems a little dreary (personally, we don’t love the constant drizzle, even if we know it’s good for the plants). So here at Murray’s, we’ve been thinking about the best ways to make the season a bit brighter. And what better way of doing it than picking bright, floral, and sweet cheeses to get us in the mood for warmer, sunnier days? So, we’ve designed two delectable collections to get us in that springtime spirit!


Springtime Splendor is us looking forward to Easter – think chocolate bunnies, caramel sweetness, and flowers in the middle of the table for brunch. That’s where our inspiration came from when putting together this collection. First we took our award-winning Hudson Flower, which is dressed in aromatic flowers and herbs, and full of springtime flavors from the Hudson Valley. Then we add in 2 Year Aged Boerenkaas, which is filled with rich caramel sweetness. Need a little bit more of a tangy dessert after Easter brunch? Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue has notes of dark chocolate within the tangy, piquant blue. But a springtime feast is more than just cheese! How about a few dollops of Murray’s Strawberry Rhubarb jam? Or maybe you could spread those delectable cheeses on Rip Rap Bakery’s Sea Salt Crackers. Finish it up with a handful of colorful and rich Chocolate Malted Milk Balls – decorated as beautifully painted pastel Easter eggs.

Meanwhile, we’re dreaming of sunshine, so we put together a trio hoping that it’ll come soon! We love the fresh, green grasses and warm breezes of spring, and of course, bloomy rind cheeses! We chose one of our favorites for this trio, Sweet Grass Dairy’s Green Hill, which is silky and creamy and loaded with rich, buttery notes. When you dollop a spoonful of Serramel Lemon Curd on top of the Green Hill, it’s like being hit with sunshine, adding a custardy tart bit of citrus to the mix. We like to spread both over Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes – think of it as a nice picnic to celebrate that spring is here and (hopefully) will be blooming soon!

Did we get you in the mood for Spring yet? Even if the weather isn’t acting like it, we hope you can welcome in the season the best way we know how – full of bright, sunny cheeses and sweet delights.

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.

 

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.

Celebrate Great Cheese! Murray’s Wins 2 Awards at the US Cheese Championship

award_winning_blogWe are so very honored to have just received two “Best in Class” awards for our Cavemaster Reserve cheeses  — Greensward and Hudson Flower — at the US Cheese Championships on March 19th in Wisconsin!

Greensward and Hudson Flower are two of eight Cavemaster Reserve cheeses, which are sourced from local cheesemakers and begin as young artisan cheeses before going through the affinage tradition.  Murray’s team tries various methods and special applications, determined by the cheese, including covering a cheese in herbs, or wrapping in brandy-soaked apple leaves, or washing in local beer, but most importantly, allowing time and attention to develop each cheese’s full flavor potential.

Greensward, bathed in cider and brine, is big and bacony, with a luscious, silky texture and notes of forest and resin from its tidy spruce jacket. Hudson Flower is more delicate with its coating of herbs like hops flower and thyme. Both are beautiful reflections of the flavors of New York state.

Stay tuned — we plan to introduce 3 new Cavemaster Reserve cheeses in the coming year!