Murray's "Fondue and the City": Cheese and Speed-Dating

[Editor's note: To commemorate the seventieth anniversary of New York's beloved cheese shop, Serious Eats writer Tam Ngo covers the new roster of fun now offered at Murray's Cheese. Dairy fresh!]

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Behold, the sumptuous spread. All photos, Tam Ngo and Mindy Lvoff

Recipes

Porcini Fondue »
Simple Chocolate Fondue »

Mindy Lvoff (of the hilarious and esteemed FCI Cooking Issues blog) made the transition to Murray's l'ecole de cheese late last year. Her mission at Murray's remains the same: keepin' the serious matter of food-learnin' fun.

Under her new regime, Murray's hosted its first fondue for lonelyhearts, a social mixer for melters of cheese.

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Mindy, our Dairy Cupid, presiding.

At forty dollars a ticket, guests feasted on unlimited food and drink. Fondue-as-speed-dating is a brilliant way to sample the goods, really. In the hot minute it takes to dip your stick, you can just as casually flirt or flee. The grazing format frees you from social commitment. Blame your roaming eye on the hotter pot next door.

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Honey Dippers.

At 6:30 P.M., the room was filled with cheese-loving women—punctual and polite. But an hour and a half into the event, the room skewed in the opposite direction, with every manner of pinstripe, cuff link, and bow tie on assertive display. How's that? A late afternoon e-mail circulated at Goldman Sachs about the possibility—nay, the certainty—of finding love over fondue. With the gender discrepancy touted as a favorable 17:1, the men came uptown to seize the opportunity to strut.

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Liquid courage, courtesy of Goose Island brewmaster Greg Hall.

The evening's featured beverage was Goose Island's Matilda, a crowd-pleasing Belgian-style pale ale. Yeasty, tangy and crisp, Matilda's a refreshing foil for the richness of fondue. (Distribution's still limited, but you can find it here in the city at Whole Foods, Morton Williams, and Gristede's.)

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No cheese skanks here.

High on cheese and good cheer, numbers were swapped and booty (consensually) grabbed. If you've ever harbored a crush on a Murray's cheesemonger, fondue night is a veritable call to action. But cheese-minded romantics weren't the only ones to benefit from the event. A raffle was held to raise money for Haiti earthquake relief. Murray's more than matched donations, raising a sweet $500. Hip hip for cheese and charity.

Be sure to check out Murray's web site for upcoming events—or host your own iniquitous fondue mixer.

Recipes:

Porcini Fondue
Simple Chocolate Fondue Recipe