Alsace 101: Munster Cheese
November 26, 2018
If you thought you knew Munster cheese, it’s time to think again, because not all Munsters are made alike.
The version from Alsace hails from the Munster Valley for which it’s named, originally made by Irish monks who settled there in the seventh century. The washed-rind soft cheese is still made traditionally—historically, in the morning—rubbed by hand with a solution of rock salt and water, giving it a strong aroma and helping to prevent mold from developing. The cheeses mature outside for one week before being transferred into caves next to aging Munsters. The cheeses are washed and brushed every other day for three weeks.
Since 1969, Munster cheese from Alsace has been an “AOC”—controlled designation of origin—product, thus ensuring its authenticity.
The best time to consume Munster is from May to October, and locally it’s taken with a slice of bread and a glass of Gewurztraminer. You’ll find, however, the cheese in a starring role in many regional dishes.
The Brotherhood Saint Gregoire is a guild founded in 1987 for the tasting, protection and promotion of Munster cheese from Alsace.