Every third Saturday of the month Murray's Cheese presents Cave Days – a brief thirty tour of their impressive underground caves. December's should be coming up, but check with their website to make sure because they might skip holiday months.
As you know, I am a huge, adoring fan of Murray's. I've been to a few of their beer and cheese tastings and have always come out raving with a new cheese or beer favorite. Those classes can be a bit pricey, though, so cave days is a nice quick and cheap mini version. And while the servings are less, there is a small tasting too.
You and a small group will be ushered down stairs past crates of goodies and workers going about their business. The basement seems to grow larger and larger than the shop above it. This is because, when Murray's moved from their original location across the street, they bought the surrounding buildings too. They rent out the upstairs to other shops and keep the lower depths for pure cheese heaven.
While not a huge operation, the caves, for which you have to disinfect your shoes before entering are still quite impressive. Four vaults with charming wood doors branch off a main room where a pleasant affineur named Zoe (who I might add is impressively fit for someone constantly surrounded by delicious cheese) begins your tour.
Behind the first door sit soft blooming cheeses, growing their appropriate molds getting ready for purchase above (to help it along cheese interns pat the fuzzy molds down daily). Here we got to try a nice, fresh goat cheese that our host cut with a piece of wire to prevent the normal crumble and sticking when you use a knife.
The next door doors holds wash rind cheeses and the strange, ammonia smells. The third was my favorite, with massive wheels of hard cheeses, a smell I could fall asleep in and have nothing but culinary delight dreams. We also got a tasting of the stupendous Swiss pressed cheese Scharfe Maxx. It's currently sold out at the website, but if you like sharp hard cheeses, this is the one for you.
The best thing about the tour is that you can just hop upstairs afterward and spend money on all the cheese you just saw.