Murray's Cheese Caves
Last week, we made our way over to Long Island City to visit the Murray's Cheese Caves. These state-of-the-art caves were built specifically for aging hundreds of cheeses to perfection. After dressing in hygienic lab coats, rubber boots and hair nets, Walshe, one of Murray's Cheese's cheesemongers, showed us the caves and educated us in detail about the cheese aging process.
The facility houses four different cheese caves: Washed Rind Cave, Bloomy Rind Cave, Alpine Cave, and Natural Rind Cave. Each of these different caves has particular environments with varying temperatures, humidity, and microbial activity dependent on the type of cheese and desired aging results.
The Washed Rind Cave is an extremely humid and warm space where cheeses go through a water, brine, or alcohol bath a few times a week to help build rinds around the cheeses. The Bloomy Rind Cave is slightly cooler and drier than the other three caves. This allows for cloud-like rinds to bloom on the cheeses and requires a delicate balance of temperature and humidity to maintain a stable environment. Housing large wheels of dry, hard cheese is the Alpine Cave. Traditionally made in higher altitudes, Alpine style of cheeses slowly develop its characteristic nutty, caramel flavors with their natural rinds in warmer temperatures. The last stop on our tour was the Natural Rind Cave. This cave is full of colorful microorganisms that have been cultivated specifically in this cave and act as a fingerprint of the space and its environment. This signature microbial activity is captured on the rinds of the cheeses leaving the cheeses speckled with orange, off-white, blue-green and yellow splotches.
We want to give a special thanks to our friends at Murray's Cheese for the tour - we are some excited to see how the program continues to develop and evolve!