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Munster Cheese



Münster Fermier comes from the Alsace region in France. This cheese is protected by an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée. It is made from unpasteurized cow's milk and is matured in humid caves during five weeks for the smaller formats (300g) and up to 2 to 3 months for the larger ones (1500 g). During this period the rind is periodically washed with brine. This moisture helps the development of the bacteria that will give this cheese its particular taste and color. The cheese is at its best during summer and autumn, when it is made from the milk from the haute chaumes ("high stubble") of pastures that have already been mown for midsummer hay in the Vosges. The best cheeses come from the haute vallée de Munster itself, but this cheese is also made in Lapoutroie, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, Villé, and other villages. This round cheese with a fat content of 45% in dry matter, has a diameter between 12 and 20 cm, and a thickness between 3 to 5 cm. Normally it is sold unwrapped on a straw bed, but for export it may be wrapped in cristalpaper or plastic. The cheese should have a slick and shiny crust of a brick colour, a semi-soft dough, a very strong and penetrating odour and a really strong taste. Defects : unripend dough (crumbly), broken crust, too salty or too old and overdone. This cheese is usually eaten as dessert. It goes well with a Gewürstraminer when young or strong red wines when more matured (Côte-Rôties, Corton, Haut-Médoc, Pinot rouge d'Alsace). There is also an industrial Münster (not protected by an AOC) made from pasteurized milk, which is a lot cheaper but this cheese will never develop the goût du terroir (" local flavour") that is so sought after by the real amateurs. The name "Münster" comes from the city of Munster where the cheese was developed by the monks, and refers to the Latin monasterium (monastery).


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