Just got home from my Cheese 101 course at Murray's Cheese Shop in Greenwich Village.
I've been trying to take this course for a while, but if you don't sign up right when they post their new class schedule, the course fills up quickly and you're SOL. Anyhow, I did it right this time. City Guy was supposed to go with me, but he had to work. :(
I had never actually even set foot in this store before tonight. It's a world of cheeses, breads, olives, dairy...lots of specialty yumminess here. And the best thing is if you're a newbie to cheese, like I am, the guys behind the counter will advise you knowledgeably and even let you taste the cheese before you decide to buy.I thought Cheese 101 was going to be a comprehensive course in cheese and selecting cheese, but I should have known you can't cover all that in 2 hours. It was different from what I expected...but still good. The instructor, Jessica, was very sweet, energetic and knowledgeable. She had picked out five representative cheese, as seen here, and used them to teach us about cheese types:Starting with the mayonnaise-y looking one at the top and going clockwise, we have:
1. Burrata, a fresh cow's cheese from Italy, a lot like mozzerella
2. Haystack Peak from Colorado, a goat's milk bloomy rind cheese with the characteristic tanginess and chalky texture of goat cheese
3. Epoisses, a washed rind "stinky cheese" from France with a complex milk sharpness and saltiness - my favorite
4. Nisa, a raw sheep cheese from Portugal, semi-firm
5. Gourmino gruyere from Switzerland - sweet and nutty - my second favorite
5. Persille de Mazieu from France, a blue cheese with a major salty, spicy, sweet kick. I usually hate blue cheeses, but this was pretty good.
They provided champagne, red wine, water, baguette slices, walnuts and dried fruit to pair with the different cheeses. The class runs from 6:30-8 and afterwards they let you shop for an hour before closing the store. I bought the Epoisses - $17.99. Expensive, but I wanted City Guy to try it.
...and some yogurt from White Cow Dairy - mostly b/c the packaging was so cute, but then Jessica the Instructor told me the farmer who produces it is trying to save his farm by making yogurt. Apparently, you can email him and he'll email you back. She highly recommended the Vanilla, so I bought one for me and one for City Guy. Ever since our trip to France, we've lamented how hard it is to find good yogurt in the US.
As I was coming home, I thought, how cool that in NYC you can find rare cheeses, yogurts, and other from small farms around the world. How amazing that there are all these niche stores where people with such specialized knowledge work to share their passions with you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've been up on the City lately. It comes and goes. Right now, I'm excited to try all this dairy! Bon soi!