By Shari Hartford
Who doesn’t like gooey, stringy mozzarella on everything that is Italian? On pizza, dripping from lasagna and sliced over a just-picked tomato with a drizzle of excellent olive oil. Ah, the taste of Italy.
Murray’s Cheese Shop, a New York institution since 1940, is a one-stop shopping experience for all things cheesy. With hundreds of local and imported varieties to choose from, plus other delicacies such as charcuterie and specialty items, it’s a feast for the eye and the palate.
In addition to selling cheese, Murray’s really wants its customers to experience cheese, so my friend and partner in cheese, Gale, and I recently attended one of the many classes offered …mozzarella making.
I never gave those glistening white balls of flavor much thought. But as we learned in the 90 minute lecture and hands-on making, there’s a lot more to it than, “I’ll take a pound of that.”
We started with cubed cheese curds. Warm water is poured around the sides – never over – of the curds as they warm and start to melt. This water was drained off, salt added and it became the brine the finished mozzarella would be stored in.
Now the fun began, hot water (and I do mean hot) was poured over the curds and we dug out fingers in to begin to pull and roll the curds to form a ball in the palm of the hand. No waiting for the water to become comfortable…if it doesn’t burn, you waited too long.
After watching our seasoned teacher, Anuradha, our group of about 20 soon got the ball rolling – mozzarella humor here. And when the entire process is accompanied by copious amounts of wine, the class couldn’t have been more fun.
Gale and I left with our handmade cheese carefully stowed and extra curds for trying it at home. This was way better than cookies in the “I made it myself” category.
For more information about Murray’s, their products and classes, see murrayscheese.com.
Shari Hartford is the former managing editor for Diversion magazine, where she wrote about travel in the northeast and cruising. She is currently a freelance writer and editor based in her hometown of New York City.