Four Exceptional Cheeses for Creative Pizza Making

Murray’s Cheese Shop, a NYC institution, can supply you with extra special cheeses for your pizzas. For this party, I headed up to their Grand Central location. I have to tell you—once inside Murray’s, you may be overwhelmed by the gorgeous selection. How can you decide? Luckily, the staff is trained in deciphering the subtleties of your psychological cheese desires. You will receive friendly service, great advice, and best of all, tastes.

Not in NYC? A visit to their website will almost take you there. (The tasting notes alone can be drool-provoking.) Browse cheese, charcuterie, all types of cheese accompaniments, gift baskets. You can even sign up for a class.

SELLES- SUR-CHER, a French goat cheese encased in ash, brings an unusual color and extra smoothness to your goat cheese offering. It will be hard to go back to the usual log after having this. TASTING NOTES FROM MURRAY’S SITE: Traditionally, fresh cheeses were dusted in wood ash to encourage the development of a molded rind, aglow with patches of blue and gray mold. The beauty of importing unaged rounds is that each goes to Murrays aging cave where we control the development of a perfect rind: thin and cohesive, with a tiny, oozing creamline atop a fluffy interior paste with the pleasant texture of damp clay. The rind delivers insistent mineral notes, while the center is all briny, goaty tang and new-mown grass.

PYRENEES BREBIS At the Murray’s counter, I asked for a strong cheese, like a provolone, but less extreme, less salty. One taste of the brebis sold me. This cheese was sophisticated, exquisite—my favorite of the bunch. TASTING NOTES FROM MURRAY’S SITE: Made in the Basque country and the Bearn region of France’s Pyrenees Mountains, this small-scale pasteurized cheese is produced from floral sheep milk and given a half year to deepen in flavor. The ivory paste is firm but smooth with toothsome butterfat. With sweet, nearly caramelly, grassy, and nutty undertones, Brebis can handle full bodied reds. This is one strong-willed sheep’s wheel.

LIONI LATTICINI FRESH MOZZARELLA In the nearby town of Union, NJ, the Lioni family stretch their fresh curds to great lengths for these fist-sized parcels of mozzarella. This mozzarella is lightly-salted, to bring out the full flavor of the milk.

EL TRIGAL AGED MANCHEGO Do you love the nutty characteristics of a manchego? Aging makes it more so. TASTING NOTES FROM MURRAY’S SITE: El Trigal Manchego develops a rich nuttiness and pleasant gaminess (think toasted almonds and broiled lamb chops) after over a year of aging.