S’more Ways to Enjoy Vacherin Mont D’Or

Vacherin Mont D’Or hot out the oven!

If you’re as obsessed with cheese and cheesemaking as we are, you’ve no doubt come to love cheeses made from summer milk. Especially prized are those Alpine heavyweights like Gruyere and Comte, whose traditions mandate that cows are led up to high altitudes for the summer months, where they graze on wild grasses and flowers only briefly uncovered by snowmelt. The result of this forage is milk rich in unique flavor compounds, which translates to especially deep, complex, fruity and nutty cheeses.

But what about the other nine months of the year? What to do with Bessie’s milk when she’s returned from her mountaintop culinary adventure, to a comparatively bland regimen of hay and grain?

Fret not, dear cheeser!

Autumn and winter milk have an attraction all their own; a density of solid fat and protein that give us cheeses of unrivaled richness. The cheesemakers on both the French and Swiss sides of the majestic Mont d’Or love this milk so much, in fact, that they waste no time whatsoever crafting it into a one-of-a-kind soft, gooey delicacy as soon as late August hits and the cows come home.

I’m referring, of course, to Vacherin Mont d’Or.

So soft and fragile that it must be bound in fir bark and packed in a wooden box to prevent it running away, Vacherin Mont d’Or makes a formidable first impression with a characteristic pungent smell and a thick, wavy, pink orange rind that, when pulled back, reveals golden paste with the texture of thick pudding. Only available October to December, and notoriously hard to come by outside of its home region, it is the rarest and most delicate of delicacies – usually catalogued among the world’s very best cheeses.

While this reputation is well deserved, it often has the unintended consequence of driving connoiseurs and first-time customers alike to timid trepidation. And this is a shame, because as dainty and delicate as Vacherin may appear, it is a mighty burst of flavor and texture that is best dived into head first. To remove some of the intimidation factor, the dedicated crew here at Murrays worked a little overtime this weekend; we took a wheel home, assembled food and beverage pairings of all shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, and concocted a definitive three course progression for you, so you too can go three rounds with the undisputed featherweight champion of the cheese world. Alas, work life balance eludes us again!

This three course cheese progression uses one wheel of Vacherin Mont d’Ord’Or and will feed 2-4 funky friends.

  1. The Opening Round (or, Vacherin Mont d’Hors d’Oevres)

With a pie server, make a deep X through the rind of your Vacherin, dividing the wheel into four equal portions. Remove the top and bottom wedge (the North and South wedge; the 12 o clock and 6 o clock wedge) from the wooden round and place them aside in separate dishes (a small bowl works best, because remember, this bad boy runs at room temperature).

Spoiler alert! We’re about to eat one of those two set aside wedges, but first we need to do a little prep for round 2, which is adapted from an old standby “Baked Vacherin” recipe.

Finely chop up a clove of garlic, and a sprig or two each of sage, rosemary, and thyme, and sprinkle them on top of the Vacherin still in its wooden box, as well as into the voids left by your two removed wedges. Cover with foil, and set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes, during which time the paste will run together to fill in the voids.

While you’re waiting, come back to the present! Grab one of your removed-and-set-aside wedges, and spoon it liberally onto whole wheat bread, crackers, apple and pear slices, and berries.

This is Vacherin Mont d’Or in its state of nature, as God intended it. He evidently also liked unoaked Chardonnay because it makes an A++ pairing to your Vacherin Mont d’Hors d’Oevres.

  1. The Main Event (or, Vacherin Mont d’Boar)

How ya doing there, champ? Ready for another round? We know you can do it. You got this!

Preheat your oven to 425 Fahrenheit. When it’s good and toasty, remove the foil from your wooden box of herbed Vacherin, which by now will have run together in a nice goopy mess that fills out the container. Plop the whole thing, box and all, into your oven for ten minutes.

While it’s cooking, slice a Creminelli Wild Boar Salami or two on a bias, and serve with more bread, as well as whatever roasted veggies you tend to enjoy (we highly recommend Brussels sprouts, red potatoes, and shallots). At the moment of truth, remove your Vacherin from the oven, and dip your salami and veggies into it like it’s fondue.

Fon-don’t-mind-if-I-due, amirite? We know you killed that Chardonnay in round one, so enjoy this with a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau.

  1. Going the Distance (or, Vacherin Mont d’S’mores)

Look, we love working with the finest of foods, but it’s hard to be so damn fancy all the time. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta keep it simple.

You know what to do here:

  • Graham crackers (or even better – Effie’s Homemade Oatcakes!)
  • Dark chocolate squares (we loved it with Pralus Chocolatier Equateur Tablette).
  • That last wedge of Vacherin Mont d’Or you’ve had set aside, getting all gooey like toasted marshmallows do, serves as the perfect marshmallow replacement (or, for extra credit, toast some actual marshmallows under the broiler for 30 seconds, and add them to the mix!)

Stack, serve, eat, repeat! Pair this with a chilled red Chileno. Sing campfire songs, tell spooky stories, pass out…and dream dreams of baby dairy cows frolicking on verdant mountain pasture.










Make Whey For… Winnimere!

As the snow starts falling up here in the Northeast, we’re reminded of our favorite things about this time of the year – decorating for the holidays, warm drinks by the fire, and of course, Winnimere.


We wouldn’t be cheese experts if we didn’t greet each new season with the greatest excitement for the seasonal cheeses that it brings. Each change in the season means a new cheese heading our whey, something unique and delicious in its own right. Winter brings us the oozing, wonderfully spoonable cheeses inspired by Swiss classics. Look at Rush Creek, Vacherin Mont d’Or, and our lovely little ‘Winni’. Inspired by Forsterkase, a washed rind, raw cow’s milk cheese that is wrapped in spruce, these cheeses are known for their pleasantly creamy texture, perfect for spreading onto warm bread or just digging into with little pretext.

In the past, Winnimere’s distinctly pink and white dappled rind came from a wash of all sorts of brews and concoctions. But nowadays, the good folks at Jasper Hill Farm have been developing a simple salt-water brine that highlights the indigenous microflora of their raw milk. It is simplicity at its finest – focusing on the delicate flavors of the raw milk and allowing it to develop into something pungent, meaty, and woodsy.

Imagine a bonfire in the woods of Vermont, in the middle of winter. Not smokey, but something woodsy lingers on the palate, spreading across the tongue with a hidden meatiness beneath. Named for the corner of Caspian Lake where the Kehler Brothers’ grandfather would go ice-fishing, it is a true taste of terroir, or taste of place. Add the fact that this cheese only appears during the winter months, and you’ll understand that you’re diving into a cheese that is truly special.

Here’s all you need to enjoy it – with a knife, peel away the top rind. If you’re enjoying with friends, take the whole top off and dig in with a spoon. You could portion it out, of course, by only slicing off a little bit of the top rind. But really, why would you? Dig in!

Look Who’s Talking About Murray’s!

It’s almost the holidays, and people are in agreement – the gift of Murray’s is THE gift for the cheese lovers in your life! From GOOP to Grub Street, learn what Murray’s gifts people are giving this season, and how to score the best cheese deal for the holidays. Make sure you take a look around though, find the best deals everywhere, find the most effective promo and discount codes from somewhere like PromoCodeWatch.com, try to save yourself some money!


Thrillist featured our Greatest Hits collection as part of the NYC Holiday Gift Guide – a perfect gift, they say, for the food lover in your life. We agree! Especially since it features some of our favorite cheeses.

Local 12 Cincinnati featured Murray’s Regional Manager of Merchandising Bryan Bland talking about holiday gifting, entertaining and beverage pairing.

The Mom 100 reviewed Murray’s holiday gift collections. If you’re looking for a gift that the whole family can share, Murray’s has the gift for you!

GOOP featured Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club in its annual Host Gift Guide. Give the host or hostess throwing your holiday party a gift they’ll never forget!

Epicurious listed Murray’s Cyber Monday deals in its “Cyber Monday Cheat Sheet.” Cyber Monday might be over, but there’s still plenty of deals to be bought.

TheKitchn listed Murray’s Cheese 101 at Home in an article entitled “10 Gifts for the Cheese-Obsessed Cook.” Have a foodie that still needs a gift? We’ve got you covered.

Grub Street mentioned Murray’s in a story about Vacherin Mont d’Or – our seasonal, woodsy delight that’s great at parties.

The Celebrity Cafe counted Murray’s Cheese 101 at Home class as the perfect “food porn” gift. Not only did she try out the class herself, but she shared the gift with four of her friends!

The New York Times says take a class this holiday season! Murray’s has the best gift for new experiences with our Cheese 101 class – learn the difference between edam and gouda to impress at your next dinner party!

Across the Avenue gave tips on how to host for the holiday season with Murray’s Private Collection!

Cupcakes and Cashmere wrote about Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club as a great last-minute gift idea.

Architectural Digest suggests Murray’s Monthly Clubs as a great last-minute gift idea if you are still searching!

Hedonist Shedonist writes about visiting the flagship Murray’s store, our product selection and our fantastic Cave Aged collection.

Blogger I Wash You Dry wrote about building a perfect cheese board using a French Connection collection. Check out her giveaway on social as well!


‘Tis the Season for these One-of-a-Kind Holiday Cheeses

rush creekTwinkly lights. Christmas music. Cozy sweaters…CHEESE!! Nothing says holiday spirit–and flavor–like these super seasonal cheese favorites. These gorgeous wheels are at their peak now, and many are only available for a precariously short amount of time. The clock is ticking.

Plus, a spot-on holiday cheese plate is a guaranteed way to spread love and joy. Happy shopping, feasting, and celebrating to you and yours!

Rush Creek Reserve

Uplands Cheese Co., one of the most beloved cheesemakers in the United States makes this Vacherin Mont d’Or-inspired beauty, possibly the most sought-after cheese in the world (pictured above). This is big news. And it makes total sense – the raw winter milk from their pastured herd of cows is less plentiful and of a quality that’s better suited to a younger, softer cheese, so they’ve done exactly what the French & Swiss have been doing for centuries: binding small wheels in spruce bark and washing them for sixty days to produce an astoundingly unctuous, resiny, bacony delight. Best served warm, with a bottle of oxidized white wine, crusty bread, and potatoes.

This cheese has a very limited availability. (Last year, it wasn’t available at all!). Get it while you can, or spend 2016 in a cheesy shroud of regret. 

comteap32 Year Comte

Frankly, a fantastic cheese. Here at murray’s, we can’t get enough. Aged in the Fort Saint Antoine in Jura, this Comte is produced by one of 13 high altitude cooperatives (“Fruitiers”) approved by affineur Marcel Petite. This Comte is aged for 2 years, which is the longest the affineur will age any cheese. The enormous wheels of raw cows’ milk have a firm texture, leaving flavors that can range from dense, with hints of smoke and onions, to sweeter, with notes of chocolate and hazelnuts. A holiday cheese plate must, and major crowd-delighter.

stiltonColston Bassett Stilton 

How did Stilton become a Christmastime tradition? The most sky-high quality milk comes from cows grazing at the end of the summer, and Stilton is at its best after about three months of aging. Hence, the cream of the crop Stilton is ready just in time for the holidays! Plus, it’s fantastic after Christmas dinner, with some tawny port and shards of chocolate.

The term ”Royal Blue” must have come from the creation of Stilton. Invented by Elizabeth Scarbrow and first served in 1720 at the Bell Inn in Stilton, England fame was not far behind. Made with pasteurized cows’ milk, it is ripened 3-4 months under carefully controlled cool, humid conditions. These farmstead, rustic looking cylinders are made by Colston-Basset Dairy, for Neal’s Yard Dairy. What makes them unique is the use of traditional animal rennet, not to be found from any other Stilton maker. Each bite is exceptionally buttery in texture with a clean, mineral tang that you’ll never forget.

Vacherin Mont D’Or

vacherinVacherin Mont D’Or inspired mania and devotion, and rightly so. A thermalized cow’s milk cheese wrapped in spruce to contain the woodsy liquid interior that, with one taste, commands spontaneous exuberance. It tastes like the holidays.

Extremely rare and highly seasonal, Vacherin Mont d’Or hails from Switzerland on the border of France near the mountain D’Or. Traditionally made with the winter milk of the same cows that produce Gruyere in the summer, this cheese is only available from October until April, making it all the more precious. The cheese must be made from cows munching on straw and fodder; once outside to graze at pasture, their milk is used for larger alpine cheeses. Swiss regulations also dictate the cheese must be produced at elevations of 2,297 feet or higher. Not a dictate, but we highly recommend you enjoy this delectable cheese with a bottle of Gewurtztraminer.