Grocery Guide

Murray's Cheese Plate: Is $13.99 Too Much?

Short answer: yes. $14 is too much to pay for a cheese plate from Kroger, even if it does come from the famed Murray's Cheese kiosk in the deli.

That's not to say I'm not a fan in general of the pre-composed cheese plate. There's a cheesy-looking (pardon the pun) plastic tray of Spanish cheeses that I'll occasionally pick up at Spec's if people are coming over unexpectedly after work, or I need a quick appetizer for dinner. It's $17 and I don't bat an eyelash at paying for the convenience of pre-cut, pre-selected cheeses because they're good.

The Dutch cheese plate from Murray's doesn't have that distinction, although you might think so from the colorful arrangement or the hip wooden plate (disposable, of course) underneath.

The different goudas arranged on the plate all tasted the same: hard and flavorless. It was as if the cheeses had been chopped and sliced then left to dry out in a cooler for a few days. To say the least, it wasn't the level of freshness you'd expect from a place that tends to its product so carefully otherwise.

Dried cranberries were piled on top of a mound of goo. Was it cranberry juice that had seeped out from the dried fruit? I had no idea, but it was not a pleasant find. And the apricots had just as much flavor as the cheeses.

Every time something like this happens, I tell myself it's a punishment for not buying the cheeses individually and cutting them up like a non-lazy person would. I'll save the money next time and just buy three pieces of cheese on my own. Duly noted, Murray's. Duly noted.

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Katharine Shilcutt