Is it any wonder that the gateway to every happy photo shoot is launched with the admonition to say everyone’s favorite food? CHEESE!
I did come to wonder about how this standard phrase came about. So research shows another happy, cheese formula for smiling when you have your picture taken. According to phrases.org “It comes from former Ambassador Joseph E. Davies who is quoted as saying “cheese” is guaranteed to make you look pleasant no matter what you're thinking. Mr. Davies disclosed the formula while having his own picture taken on the set of his ‘Mission to Moscow.’ “It's simple. Just say ‘Cheese.’ It's an automatic smile. I learned that from a politician.” And because Ambassador Davies served under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, “It’s reasonable to speculate that it was Roosevelt who introduced the phrase into the language.”
So there you have it. A great American patriot launched a bazillion happy cheese moments.
Therefore, it’s only fitting that in preparation for your upcoming holiday parties - starting with this weekend’s Labor Day, along with other events and personal celebrations, to look to cheese as the go-to happy food to serve. Or to bring as the perfect Hostess Gift.
Cheese may be one of the few edible delights that can be enjoyed straight away; adorned with a palette of flavor compliments from fig to truffles to chocolate, nuts and fruits; added to both savory and sweet recipes; celebrated as a hostess gift, a panache party star - revered at the foodie altar of desire and devotion. And perfect for a picnic!
Can one ever have too much cheese? No, is the simple answer.
Recently, I had the privilege to attend a Murray’s Cheese tasting. For those of you who do know about the iconic Murray’s, indulge me here as I want my readers who don’t have the privilege of shopping in this classic New York, Greenwich Village food emporium, or who haven’t wanted to share their secret online cheese resource, here is the pedigree:
“Established in 1940, Murray's Cheese is a beloved fixture of New York's Greenwich Village. Along with neighboring food destinations like Faicco's, Ottomanelli's and Rocco's, Murray's is part of the rich food history of this formerly Italian enclave. In its 75+ year history, Murray’s has evolved into a world-renowned specialty food destination that offers the finest selection of cheese, meat and grocery items.”
Amen. Visiting the shop is kinda’ like a spiritual experience. Moreover, just like that great American patriot who introduced the smilin’ “Cheese” photo expression, Murray’s too, is all about sourcing local - cheeses, with an added homage to seasonal offerings. According to Murray’s “Hundreds of cheeses are ripening in our stat-of-the-art caves in Long Island City.” Doesn’t get too much more local than that.
This post is about introducing you to new cheese options, pairings, presentations, ways to learn more about this ever-fascinating and enduring food treasure. Plus, tips on how to access the Murray’s Cheeses if you are in a cheese desert!
I can honestly say everything at the tasting was incredible. A discovery. I pride myself on knowing cheese. Long an enthusiast -- a Swiss school student, indulging in cheese platters, raclette, fondue and oh… but the tasting elevated my cheese “game.”
Simply put - Murray’s Cheese offers a constellation of delicious cheese food and pairings that will readily and easily enhance the luxury of your edible lifestyle. Cheese is decadent, sensual, gooey, tangy, tart, spicy…
And the cheeses are so versatile and attractive that they are a natural for making presentations and tablescapes so lovely. Chic or rustic. Cheese looks elegant cut into cubes, stacked on tiered serving dishes or spread out on all kinds of serving trays - silver, wood, or glass -- or on wooden cutting boards. Or slate. A Cheese table decor infuses the imagination so that you can pair up with drinks -- wine or cocktails, candles, flowers, and herbs…
First up, is the Murray’s Cheese holiday offerings.
Cheese is agnostic. Whatever your Holiday is that’s coming up -- Murray’s has a Collection to embrace your celebration:
Featured Holiday Collections
Cave Aged Collection – $90 – Includes: Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Annelies, Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Greensward, Murray’s Cavemaster Reserve Project X, Murray’s Blueberry Jam, and Urban Oven Olive Oil Crackers
La Dolce Vita – $120 – Includes: Piave Vecchio, Murray’s La Tur, Taleggio, Gorgonzola Mountain, Murray’s Sopressata Salami, Murray’s Speck, Castelvetrano Olives, and Naturpuglia Taralli Classic Crackers
The MVP: Most Valuable Platter – $135 – Includes: Murray’s Cave Aged Gruyere, Clothbound Cheddar, Humboldt Fog, Grayson, Point Reyes Blue, Prosciutto San Daniele, Wild Boar Salami, Castelvetrano Olives, Jan’s Farmhouse Crisps, and Z Crackers Sea Salt & Olive Oil Crackers
Truffle Lover’s Collection – $180 – Includes: Truffle Parrano, Truffle Burrata, Da Rosario Truffle Honey, Cypress Grove Truffle Tremor, Murray’s Truffle Mousse Pate, Creminelli Tartufo Salami, Pipcorn Truffle, and Fabrique Delices Black Truffle Butter
Cocktail Accoutrements – $265 – Includes: Murray’s Preserved Walnuts, Wood’s Cider Milled Boiled Cider Syrup, Black Cherry Confit, Be Home Onyx Bottle Opener, Promitivizia Muglio Pinecone Bud Syrup, Divina Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives, Queen Majesty Jalapeño Tequila & Lime Hot Sauce, Be Home Cocktail Shaker, and Murray’s Grapefruit Vinegar
While they’ve only highlighted five gift collections above, be assured Murray’s has countless gift collections on their website. If your friends and family like cheese, meat and specialty grocery items, they’ve got you covered! For more information about Murray’s curated gift collections, please visit: https://www.murrayscheese.com/murrays-gifts And if you enter your email - you’ll get 10% off the order.
Build Your Own Gift
While Murray’s Cheese offers fantastic curated gift collections, they understand that sometimes you want to put together a customized gift infused with your own flare. Therefore, these cheese hospitality masters have made it super simple to execute both online and in their New York City stores (Bleecker Street & Grand Central Market).
Murray’s sources its cheeses from all over -more than 300 cheeses just in their cases alone.
I asked what the top holiday cheese gifting holidays are. The answers are kinda’ surprising. But not. Mothers Day, Christmas and Valentine’s Day - which alone is up 70%. Self-Gifting is up too. In an era of Selfies - that makes sense!
If you choose to purchase via the online route, the expert Murray Cheesemongers will cut, wrap, fill and ship your package according to your exact specifications. Combine your favorite cheeses, meats, specialty grocery items, homeware, apparel, and more to create the perfect gift for your friends and family.
If you live in New York City and opt for an in-store shopping experience, they sell gift boxes in both of their New York City stores, where you can hand-pick items to fill it with - so much fun customizing the gift to make it a completely personalized gift option. The perks of shopping in-store include: being able to speak with passionate mongers who are extremely knowledgeable about the 300+ cheeses they carry, you can sample as many cheeses as you’d like (oh that alone is worth the gifting!), and you can turn the process of building a friend or family member’s gift into a special shopping experience.
For more information about our Build Your Own Gift option, please visit: https://www.murrayscheese.com/build-your-own-gift.
I had to ask: What’s trending in cheese?
Answer: Cheese with truffles. What a perfect gift! Also, Truffles and honey and cheese. And Truffle popcorn. Of course these would be trending! Salt and cheese is a seductive pairing. Moreover, this is a wonderful food presentation to serve with champagne, for example. Many readers - and myself included - have looked for a superior, elegant match to champagne or prosecco. This works.
And the hits keep coming. Cheese is increasingly served as a pairing with craft cocktails. Think blue cheese stuffed olives.
Murray’s offers a variety of Cheese Collections. The samples at the tasting highlighted the flavors, foods, and textures that amplify and enrich the cheese experience.
Featured Catering Platters
American Farmstead Cheese Platter – Includes: Sweet Grass Dairy Green Hill, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog, Murray’s Select Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and Point Reyes Blue
Small Platter (serves 10-12): $135
Large Platter (serves 15-20): $160
Charcuterie & Antipasti Platter – Includes: Prosciutto di Parma, Sopressata, Mortadella, Dry Salami, Spiced Chorizo, Herb-Marinated Bite-Size Mozzarella, Italian Mixed Olives, Cornichons, On-the-Stem Artichoke Hearts, and Whole Grain Mustard
Small Platter (serves 10-12): $135
Large Platter (serves 15-20): $160
Cheese Puffs – All-butter puff pastry with handfuls of grated Grana Padano
1 platter (serves 15-20): $30
Bacon Wrapped Dates – Stuffed with Marcona almonds and Bucheron cheese
1 dozen: $30
Murray’s CaveMaster Reserve - I can’t help but love this. In no small part because of the pedigree - the history. See, Murray’s cave-aging process was the first in New York City. This is the high end of the cheese platters, featuring “Herbaceous Hudson Flower, roasted peanutty Cornelia, caramelly Tarentaise, snacky Bandaged Cheddar, and savory Barden Blue. Ahhhh - true luxury.
The Classic, Cheese Platter of the Month and more…
Looking to bring excitement to your next wine tasting or cocktail party? This is not your “father’s cheese platter!” Murray’s cheese platters are serious show stoppers. Cheese is presented in all its glory accompanied with dried fruit, Marcona almonds, grapes, bread and crackers; just unwrap and get your cheese on. “Whether you are feeding a group of seasoned curd-ophiles or fromage new-comers,” Murray’s has a selection of platters for whatever crowd you are entertaining. Cheese elevates every occasion - it’s easy too to set out cheese and homegrown pairings. What to do with all those tomatoes and basil from the garden?
If you just can’t bear the thought of choosing cheeses, no worries. Be happy. Murray’s has a catering coterie that will take care of everything.
For more information about Murray’s Catering department, please visit: https://www.murrayscheese.com/catering.
Educational Public Classes
At Murray’s they say there’s only one thing they love more than cheese - sharing that passion for cheese with you. Therefore, they’ve designed educational events to offer a myriad of ways to get your cheese on, from Cheese 101 to Mozzarella Making to Wine & Cheese pairings, there’s a class for everyone. Murray’s staff was showcasing how to make mozzarella during the tasting and I couldn’t have been more impressed: taste and culinary authenticity. Do it.
If you’re ready to take it to the next lactic level, enlist in our Murray's Cheese Boot Camp, a three day intensive weekend full of everything you could ever want to know about cheese and then some. The classes can be a great team-building company event.
No matter who you’re buying for – a class with Murray’s Cheese makes a perfect gift. It's an experience.
For a full list of classes, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/o/murrays-cheese-8172404165.
Expertly curated arrangement of cheese wheels stacked and adorned with flowers, fresh fruit, and/or other decorations. It’s the perfect showcase of taste and style. Not only will your tower dazzle guests visually, but each unique wheel of cheese will become a perfectly balanced cheese plate and a delicious part of your special day.
Murray’s cheese towers are completely customizable and can be made for any size party from ten people to hundreds of people. Make a wedding, engagement party, birthday party, bachelorette party or any gathering with friends and family that much more special with one of our cheese towers. I love this!
You can select one of Murray’s signature towers or make it your own by choosing the color palate or cheese types you wish to complete your special occasion with. For more information about our cheese towers, please visit: https://www.murrayscheese.com/cheese-towers.
More About Murray’s Cheese
Murray’s opened a second retail location in Grand Central Terminal in 2002. Murray’s businesses also include a wholesale team that sells to 600+ restaurants and hotels, an E-commerce business, year-round educational programs, a full-service restaurant, Murray’s Cheese Bar, private events, catering and state-of-the-art cheese aging caves in Long Island City, New York.
Follow Murray’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@murrayscheese) or visit their website: www.murrayscheese.com. You can order online and pick up at retail, too.