an adventure in cheese

“If I don’t get some cheese, I might develop a queso the blues.” – Murray’s Cheese Bar

Some friendships begin because of shared interests. Many of mine have begun over a love of all things food. However, what I remember about the first parts of this particular friendship was that Wisconsin cheddar arrived in my mailbox as a birthday gift. Which led to a lot of snacking and multiple grilled cheeses, and a year of hanging out with this awesome friend who also loves to eat, and really loves cheese.

On Friday, I met up with her at Murray’s Cheese Bar in the West Village (if you haven’t been, and you like cheese, make this the #1 priority on your to-do list). We decided to go all out and get a Cheesemonger’s Choice – eight cheeses (or meats, if you like) chosen by the cheesemonger. The cheesemonger is a lot like a sommelier – they recommend the best cheeses based on what you’re interested in. We were pretty open to trying just about everything, and that’s what we got! We started with fresh cheeses and worked our way up to a tangy blue cheese. Our cheesemonger was kind enough to write us up a very detailed list of what she had set out for us. I’ve included it at the bottom.

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We asked her a lot about her job and what kind of training is needed to become a cheesemonger. Turns out, it’s something you can reach many different ways – through working in a kitchen, or learning by starting to work with cheese at a place like Murray’s Cheese Shop. This made me fantasize about a new career path. While unrealistic, it would be really delicious…and I imagine most days would be something like this.

  1. La Tur (goat, sheep, cow), Italy, paired with raw clover honey (CO) – very soft and fresh (though not creamy), light
  2. St. Maure (goat), France, paired with raw aster honey (NY) – creamy cheese with an ashen rind
  3. Robiola Bosina (cow, sheep), Italy, paired with raspberry jam – soft and brie-like cheese
  4. Zimbro (raw sheep), Portugal, paired with black cherry jam – semi firm with an interesting flavor; the jam set it off nicely
  5. Flory’s Truckle (cow), Colorado, paired with chipotle carrots – firm with a hard rind, reminding me of pecorino
  6. Beaufort (raw cow), France, paired with French onion confit (Three Little Figs) – fruity and and a sort of meaty tang
  7. Vacherin Mont D’or (cow), France, paired with bread & butter pickles – super soft and creamy
  8. Persille de Rambouillet (goat), France, paired with salted caramel – very smooth; the caramel was a perfect pairing
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