Muenster Cheese, called Munster in Alsace, now includes several variations worldwide. The French AOC* Munster is considered by many to be the best. Originally produced in farmhouses of the north-east regions of France, this flavourful typical cheese has become one of the most refined products of Alsace and Lorraine - where it is more generally named Munster Gerome.
The traditional Munster cheese's recipe originates from the monks of the Benedictine Abbey of the Munster Valley (initially named "Flecht Valley"). Thus Alsace and Lorraine producers adopted specific techniques to create a genuine semi-soft creamy cheese with a sharp - but not strong - taste.
The original way of producing this Alsatian cheese is to age the paste in cellars for at least five weeks, washing the rind with brine and annatto (for colouring) and turning every two days. Maturing next to old Munster pastes, the French AOC versions get their shiny orange rind and distinctive smell.
The Alsace region can still boast producing the best-known quality AOC Munster, even though today other countries have tried to compete. But of course, most Munster cheeses are now industrial versions, made from pasteurized milk and offering a tangier flavour.
Widely appreciated, the gourmet French Munster cheese can be eaten in many different ways. A glass of Gewurztraminer wine is the perfect complement to Munster Cheese that Munster lovers like to enjoy without bread, accompanied by jacket potatoes or plain. While visiting Alsace or any region of France, you may often find Munster served with cumin or caraway seeds on the side.
Munster cheeses have an average fat content of 45%.
For further information about Alsace culinary customs and traditions, French-Property.com is pleased to offer you a complete regional online guide.
*AOC - Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, official French quality label