Cider and Cheese, Please!

You’ve known since childhood that “an Apple a day keeps the doctor away…” but now that you’re all grown up, you may have also discovered that when pressed for juice and allowed to ferment and age, apples can become just what the doctor ordered!  We’re talking, of course, about cider, that underappreciated cousin of beer and wine that shows up in force at bars and bottle shops this time of year, announcing to all that Autumn is here. 

At its simplest, cider is nothing more than the juice of pressed apples, fermented by the yeasts native to apple skins.  It has a long history in the United States, going back to the first English colonies, and was more commonly consumed than beer in the years before the German and Irish immigrant populations and their beer brewing traditions became fully incorporated into the American melting pot.  Nearly wiped out entirely by Prohibition, cidermaking has seen a renaissance in the last 40 years in parallel with craft brewing, winemaking, and artisan cheesemaking.

While we might associate ciders most often with the autumn colors of New York and New England, they are produced throughout the year and around the world, from the warm and wet English West Country; to the rolling fields of Normandy and Brittany; to the rustic, rugged mountains of the Basque Country.  These regional ferments evolved in response to the same geographic, economic, and cultural constraints as the cheeses consumed in their vicinities, and as such make brilliant terroir pairings.

We’re delighted to share a flight of cheese and cider pairings from three esteemed cider and cheese producing regions, so that you can break free of the repressive stranglehold Pumpkin Spice has taken upon our society, and celebrate fall with the simple bliss of a classic harvest beverage.


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Cidre Bouché 2016 Unfiltered Hard Apple Cider

Domaine Dupont (Pays D’Auge, Normandy, France)

From a region of apple growers influenced by their winemaking countrymen to the South comes this crisp, elegant, pleasantly sweet unfiltered Apple Cider; a perfect complement to its Norman counterpart, Camembert.

  • Deep amber-bronze color and a clean nose with subtle citrus and berry notes
  • A creamy mouthfeel, with rich, velvety effervescence like cream soda
  • Its flavor profile is a rounded, focused sweetness reminiscent of red grapes. It makes its presence known right away, and then recedes, making room for powerful brine and cooked broccoli flavors of farmstead Camembert

PairingsMurray’s Camembert; Murray’s Brie Fermier; Jasper Hill Moses Sleeper


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Shacksbury Dry Hard Apple Cider

Shacksbury Cider (Vergennes, Vermont)

This light, tart, rustic cider is a cocktail of 10 distinct heirloom apple varieties grown in Vermont and England, fermented in part by yeasts native to the apples themselves.  Aged over six months, its sweetness is present but dialed back, laying the stage for firm, lactic, tangy cheddar to work its magic.

  • A pale yellow color, with yeast and funky barnyard aromas
  • A light, smooth, clean mouthfeel, punctuated by large bubbles
  • Dry, as its name suggests, with a prickly tartness, it is a wonderful complement to the tangy fruit and sweet cream notes in its Vermont counterpart, Cabot Clothbound Cheddar

PairingsCabot Clothbound Cheddar, Murray’s High Plains Cheddar, Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Stockinghall Cheddar


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Byhur “24” Sidra Apardunia

Astarbe Sagardotegia (Astigarraga, Basque Country, Spain)

An intensely dry bubbly with a hint of bitterness, produced from two proprietary apple varieties on a 450 year old estate in the heart of Basque cider country.  Pairs wonderfully with Ossau-Iraty, or as a substitute for Champagne alongside a decadent a triple crème.

  • Dark, yellow-orange color and clean, tart, green apple aromas
  • Light and crisp on the tongue, highly effervescent, and as dry as they come
  • With a balanced flavor profile, long finish, and slight hint of bitterness, it showcases the complex sweet, savory, pecan, and lanolin of Ossau-Iraty and other rich Basque sheep’s milk cheeses.

Pairings:  Ossau-Iraty, Pyrenees Brebis, Roncal, Nettle Meadow Sappy Ewe, Brebirousse D’Argental, Cremeaux de Borgogne

Written by: Tyler Frankenberg, Murray’s Cheese

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! 

Bonjour, Flavor!

Sometimes, what you need is an escape. Especially around the holidays. But if you can’t escape, what’s the next best thing? An experience that transports you. That’s why the gift of Murray’s is your best bet this holiday season – it can whisk you away to a land of flavor and delight. This time, we take you to France with the French Connection

Come a-whey with us – to strolls along the Seine River, leading to an afternoon lunch at a cafe not far from the Eiffel Tower. Or to cool mountain air from high up in the French Alps, watching cows and sheep graze. It all is embodied in the cheeses highlighted in the French Connection – a tour across the land of France.

First is the traditional French Alpine cheese – Comte comes from France’s Jura region, capturing the essence of raw, mountain pasture-fed cow milk with a hint of sweet milk, stone fruit, and brown butter. The rich chunk of Ossau Iraty comes from the Pyrenees – it’s a grassy-sweet sheep’s milk cheese highlighted by toasted wheat and hazelnut flavors. The Prince of French Blues, Bleu d’Auvergne comes from the same region as Roquefort, and is mellower and meatier than its spicy sheep relative. And that unassuming, miniature white wheel? That’s Chabichou – a wrinkly aged goat cheese chock full of lemon zest and minerality, the perfect tangy little bite.

But it wouldn’t be enough simply to feature cheese – The French Connection also highlights France’s answer to salumi with Saucisson Sec. Porky, with a hint of garlic, it is best served whole, while you or your guests slice medium-thick bites. With the Comte, it is divine, especially paired with the mix of French Olives that accompany it. Or top the Ossau Iraty and Bleu d’Auvergne with the Black Cherry Confit – the mix of flavors will surprise and delight.

We want to make gift-giving easy for you. Whether buying for the cheese novice or the hardcore cheese fanatic, we have something for everyone!

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.

A Whey Better Hangover Cure

hangover blog

We’ve all been there, keeled over in a pool of our own regret, shame, and poor decisions. A debaucherous lifestyle comes with a hefty price tag. Alcohol can cause all kinds of health problems, but did you know that turning up to a job interview intoxicated could cost you the career of your dreams? Various businesses in the transportation, medical, and construction sectors use a clia waived drug test as part of their pre-employment screening programs. Losing out on a job opportunity as a result of a night of drinking would be devastating, so if you have a job interview coming up, and there’s a chance you will have to complete a drugs test, it is always best to stay sober.

Nonetheless, working in the cheese biz, we’ve known for a long time that a little hunk of queso can do wonders for the wrath of the worst hangover, and the fine folks at Vice explain why cheese makes such a great hangover cure:

Cheese is filled with all kinds of great things: calcium, enzymes, protein; it has the incredible property to coat things, so it soothes your tummy. Cheese is made of milk, and milk is good for you (it helps strengthen your bones and all that jazz). Good quality dairy comes from happy animals whose rich, liquid lovin’ is the base of the best stuff out there. Cows give forth some incredibly buttery and sweet milk, so cheese developed from cow’s milk can become all nutty and caramel-y. Think aged Gruyere or Comté. Goats have that lush, tangy, slightly barny milk that can develop into a rich, petting-zoo-esque floral creation like the famed Crottin or St. Maure. Sheep have the fattiest and flintiest milk out there and can create some great, wooly, slightly floral treats like the incredible Abbaye de Belloc or Ossau Iraty. Buffalo give forth a yogurt-y, tangy, ultra fatty milk that screams to be pulled out into some fresh mozzarella, all creamy and seductive.

So, next Saturday morning when you’re trying to piece together the long string of mistakes you made the night before, get down to Murray’s and grab yourself a wedge. We get it, you’re hungover…we probably are, too.

Via Vice