As lovers of cheese, we didn't live in Manhattan long before discovering Murray's Cheese in the West Village. Murray's has an excellent selection, and their employees know everything there is to know about cheese (and they let you sample everything). A few weeks ago, we decided to take one of their cheese courses - Cheese 101. It was well worth it!
Murray's Cheese 101
The cheeses we sampled were:
(1) Vermont Butter & Cheese Cremery Coupole - a delicious not-too-goaty goat cheese; excellent to pair with champagne, because the bubbles help clean the cheese off of your palate
(2) Brillat Savarin - this is a triple cream brie-like cheese, which, at the time we really liked. We just purchased it again this weekend, and found that it was stronger than when we first sampled it. Not sure what happened...
(3) St. Nectaire - semi-soft and unassuming, but really nothing remarkable
(4) Tilsiter - this cheese was VERY stinky, and tasted almost as stinky as it smelled. Despite that, it was actually a really nice cheese
(5) Pecorino Foglie Di Noce - we're always fans of Pecorino; this one is aged in walnut leaves (foglie di noce) and was easily the best cheese of the night. At $30/lb it is a "special occasion" cheese, but pairs nicely with their tomato jam (I know, it sounds weird, but it's delicious).
(6) 2 year Comte - Comte, a gruyere-like cheese, is normally aged for 1 year; this one is a special 2-year aged version that blows the 1 year out of the water [it's no longer available]. Also over $30/lb, we just couldn't spring for it -- the 18 month Comte available at Zabar's is a close second.
(7) Colston Basset Stilton - blues aren't for everyone, but if you like them, you'll like this one
Notes: The cheese course was a great time, they serve the cheeses with bread, nuts, and dried fruits, along with 2 glasses of champagne and 2 glasses of red wine. We learned so much about the cheese-making process, and found new delicious cheeses to buy. Some of the cheeses are exclusive to Murrays, but most can also be found at Zabar's (which is closer to us and has cheaper prices). If you like cheese and are in the area, you need to check out Murray's!
[sorry for the low res pic - it was taken on an iPhone]