If you know me at all, you know that I LOVE cheese. In a small secret circle I am known as Sister Silver Hair, Goddess of the Cheeses. I once tried a diet that had me eliminate dairy. Yeah, that lasted about 48 hours. I will put cheese on just about anything and I literally have a drawer in the fridge specifically relegated to cheese which contains no less than 6 varieties for different uses. My husband recently remarked that I was not allowed to buy any more cheese until I finished what was in the fridge. Let’s just say I am working on it. So you can just imagine how delighted I was when my local Smith’s became home to the latest Murray’s Cheese Shop in Vegas. Finally Centennial Hills gets something before Summerlin does!
Murray’s Cheese Shop on Bleecker Street in NYC has been around since 1940 and in recent years they have expanded slowly so other parts of the country can enjoy great cheeses from around the world and across the country. Believe it or not, we have some fantastic artisanal cheese makers right here in the USA. The majority of the nationwide Murray’s are located in Kroger stores (Ralph’s, Smith’s, and King Supermarkets) and many of them are in the Midwest. Each Murray’s throughout the country has a bonafide cheese monger that receives training at the original Murray’s and from local or regional experts. Here in Vegas we have two Murray’s outposts, both in Smith’s Stores, one at LV Blvd and Windmill and the other in Centennial Hills at the Montecito Smith’s. My local cheese monger is Charles.
Recently I was invited to a personal tasting and chat session with Charles (sadly none of the pics of Charles turned out the way I would have liked, but ask him for him at the counter), and I learned a few things about Murray’s that I didn’t know. For example, each one across the country is client and regionally driven in what they offer. The location in Centennial Hills offers different cheeses and other items like crackers, charcuterie and Bloody Mary mixes than the one in Henderson. And some of the items available here in Vegas are not available in the Midwest or California and vice versa.
When you go, expect to have a tough time deciding on what to get because there are nearly 200 cheeses available, but KNOW there will be help in selecting and setting up your cheese board for your next get-together. In case you didn’t know, there is SO much more out there than the pre-cut cheese cube tray offered by your local grocer (fine for tailgating or football games, but HARDLY what I want when entertaining at my home). Let’s say, for example, you want to feature all sheep’s milk, or all California, or all Italian cheeses. Charles can hook you up! Tallegio? Check! P’tit Basque? Check! Aged Manchego? Check! Burrata? Check! And so much more! What I really love about this counter is that it is divided by the style of cheese – crumbly, creamy, rind style, etc. Can’t find what you are looking for? Don’t know EXACTLY what you are looking for? Don’t worry! Charles or one of his capable staff is there to help you! They love cheese and they want you to love it too! And seriously, don’t be afraid to ask for a sample! They have samplings every day of featured offerings, but also will offer a taste if you are unsure on MOST of the cheeses in the case, but don’t be THAT GUY and ask for a sample of several and walk away with none in your basket.
Always remember, you get what you pay for. If blocks of yellow cheddar and bland Monterey Jack are what you and your friends think is good cheese…you may want to walk on by (as Dionne Warwick would say); but, if like me, you view cheese as particularly as you view wine or beer…well then, slow down, take a minute and a sample and ENJOY!