Founded in 1940 by Murray Greenberg, Murray's Cheese Shop has long been a fixture of New York's Greenwich Village. Initially a wholesaler of butter and eggs, Murray's has evolved into New York's (and the United States') best-loved cheese shop. In the 1970s, Murray sold the shop to his clerk, Louis Tudda, an Italian immigrant from Calabria. In those days, it was a humble butter and eggs shop that also sold blocks of cheese. In 1991, a fellow by the name of Rob Kaufelt was standing in line one day at Murray's when he heard Thudda say that he was closing the shop. Kaufelt made him an offer and he became the third owner of New York's oldest cheese shop. Kaufelt got busy traveling the globe, in search of new cheeses that no one had ever heard about and brought them back to the US. Today, Murray's offers an enormous selection of amazing cheeses and charcuterie. In 2004, Murray's built their first set of caves for the purpose of aging cheese. For centuries, caves - being cool in temperature and high and steady in humidity - have been the perfect aging location for cheese. As the cheese business expanded, so did Murray's Cave Aged Program and in 2013, a new set of caves was built in nearby Long Island City. I recently had the pleasure of visiting Rob Kaufelt in this state-of-the-art facility. Enjoy the video!
1 Murray's Cave Aged Program includes hundreds of cheeses ripened to perfection in their state-of-the-art caves. The caves allows owner, Rob Kaufelt, to mature cheese right near his shop in New York City so his customers can enjoy the cheeses when they're at the peak of ripeness.
2 This is the Bloomy Rind Cave, which is best suited to bloomy rind cheeses of various types.
3 Several molds and yeasts are responsible for soft-ripening the cheese in this cave.
4 During the cheesemaking process, the cheese is inoculated with mold spores and ripen from the outside in. Murray's purchases young cheese and then develops the rinds in their cave by providing an optimal environment for mold to flourish.
5 As a cheese ages, moisture gradually leaves and the cheese's flavors become more assertive. The ambient molds in the cave also help to create a signature flavor unique to Murray's.
6 My film crew squeezed in as well! Each cave was designed to combine modern technology with old world knowledge. The porous cement walls are breathable and work to promote each cave's microbial community.
7 This is the entrance to the Alpine Cave. Murray's relies on humidifiers regulated by sensors to aid in humidity retention, and low velocity fans round out the caves by providing proper air flow and preventing condensation.
8 Alpine cheeses are generally large format and low moisture. This wheel of Emmentaler, classic Swiss cheese, weighs 205 pounds!
9 Pleasant Ridge Reserve, from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin, is the most-awarded cheese in American history, having won Best of Show in the American Cheese Society's annual competition three times. It is a raw cow's milk cheese with a nutty, caramel, fruity taste.
10 Comté is a classic French mountain cheese made from raw cow's milk. These wheels came to the cave at 12 months old and have been here for 3 months. Comté has a complex, nutty, and caramelized flavor.
11 Alpine cheeses are made by cutting, cooking, and pressing the curds.
12 Murray's refers to the cheeses in the Natural Rind Cave as "The Expressionists." This is where the natural rinds go to relax and freely express their mold tendencies.
13 These are cheeses with self-formed rinds. The only molds and microflora are picked up from the environment.
14 Like the Bloomy Cave, the Natural Rind Cave is actively ripening cheese from the outside in.
15 If the rinds are mottled and multicolored, this indicates spontaneous growth from a well-seasoned cave.
16 Some cheeses may be brushed to keep mold growth to a minimum, allowing internal enzymes to work on the cheese instead.
17 This cheese is called Hudson Flower. Young wheels of decadent sheep's milk cheese from nearby Old Chatham get a fresh coat in an herbaceous blend, becoming Murray's Cavemaster Reserve.
18 The blend of herbs is rosemary, lemon thyme, marjoram, elderberries, and hop flowers. The bright herbs impart robust piney and floral aromas to welcome the season and make for an unforgettable flavor when combined with the rich, milky paste.
19 A wide and colorful variety of microorganisms can be found on the rinds in this cave.
20 The odor in this cave is distinctly cheesy from the natural fermentation process.
21 It's interesting to note that all of these different cheeses are made from the same three ingredients - milk, rennet, and salt. How they're treated makes all the difference.
22 In 2008, Murray's entered into an agreement with Kroger, the nation's largest retail grocery chain, to expand Kroger's specialty cheese program. Murray's cheese currently has 100 shops from coast to coast within Kroger and its banner stores.
23 Murray's current catalog is approximately 250 cheeses in their retail stores. They sell 220 online, and they also sell a nice selection of charcuterie.