Little did I know when I registered us that our $15-a-person fee would include a glass of cava and a tasting of several cave-aged cheeses in Murray's classroom. Forget the caves: we were thrilled to finally be in the windowed space overlooking the entire store, with curious shoppers gazing up at us as we enjoyed our cheese and wine. How many times had we been to Murray's and jealously noted what fun the "students" in the classroom were having? I now know: it truly is as much fun as it looks from below.
The caves themselves were a series of walk-in refrigerators, each kept at a different temperature and humidity level for the types of cheese they contained. It was fascinating to hear about the interns who brush off the cheese mites and brine the washed-rind cheeses with a foot-shaped scrubber. Because we weren't allowed to bring any belongings with us into the caves (in fact, we had to don hairnets, shoe covers, and lab coats), I don't have any shots from that part of class. You'll just have to take a tour yourself!As for the cheese we tasted, I have two new favorites: Little Big Apple, a bloomy, triple cream cheese wrapped in apple tree leaves from Brooklyn, and Epoisses, a washed-rind cheese that wasn't nearly as stinky as I had feared (I think that has a lot to do with how Murray's cares for it).