Munster cheese is a soft, washed-rind cheese created by dairy farmers in the Alsace region of France. It has an orange rind which develops an intense tangy flavor with age.
The name ‘Munster’ derives from the Flecht Valley in Haut-Rhin of Alsace, where Benedictine monks established the first monastery and began making this cheese. Nowadays it can be found across Europe and is protected as an origin designation by some dairies to ensure its culinary legacy is passed down to future generations of consumers.
Munster cheese has a smooth, creamy texture that’s moist and supple, with beefy, garlicky and saline flavors. Pair this cheese with boiled potatoes, green salads and aromatic white wines like Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris from Alsace or Lorraine regions nearby.
Muenster cheese comes in several varieties, each with its own distinct flavor and smell. Some taste similar to Jack cheese while others possess a milder buttery aroma that becomes increasingly tart with age.
Most Muenster is a semi-soft, pasteurized cow’s milk cheese popular in appetizers and recipes like quiche.
It is often served on bread or grilled vegetables and makes an excellent accompaniment to soups, sandwiches or quesadillas. Additionally, it pairs perfectly with smoked and spicy chorizo sausage.
Cheese has an intense, pervasive smell that may be off-putting to some people, so it’s essential to purchase one that is not expired or spoiled. This can happen if it is stored in a humid environment or opened too early.
Younger Munsters are less strongly flavored than their older counterparts, so they often find a home in grocery stores for those who may not prefer the more intense taste and aroma of an aged cheese. Regardless, this cheese has a delicious buttery texture that makes it ideal for any special occasion!
Older Munster cheeses may develop an off-putting funkiness if left to age for too long, due to bacteria present in the cheese that adds a strong, tart flavor.
It’s easy to spot an aged Munster cheese! Look for a bright orange block with a slightly sticky rind – that’s your cue that the cheese has been aged at least two months!
Once you find a cheese you enjoy, look for one with an inviting smooth and creamy texture, coupled with an intriguing tart and slightly acidic flavor that develops over time. It makes an excellent dipping cheese since it doesn’t get too messy.
Additionally, be on the lookout for any liquid that might appear on the outside of your cheese (this is just excess moisture from packaging, not whey). This is perfectly normal and will disappear once you take it out of its box!