The Munster PDO is a cheese with soft paste produced exclusively with raw milk from cows of breeds located in the eastern area of France, in Alsace, and nurtured with grass and hay.
The production area of Munster PDO is located in the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Vosges, Meurthe and Moselle, Moselle, Saône, Haute-Saône and Territoire de Belfort, in the regions of Alsace, Lorraine, and Franche-Comte.
The milk used to make it must be coagulated with animal rennet. The curd obtained is cut into grains of about 1 cm. Later it is put into cheese moulds to drip. Once dripped and salted, the cheese moulds are ripened in cellars for minimum 21 days for Munster PDO and 14 days for Petit-Munster PDO (small cheese) and are brushed and upturned every two days. Appearance and flavour: Munster PDO has a cylindrical shape which measures from 13 cm to 19 cm of diameter and from 2.4 cm to 8 cm of diameter. The weight spans from 450 gr to 1.5 kg. The Petit-Munster (or Petit-Munster-Géromé) PDO measures from 7 cm to 12 cm of diameter and from 2 cm to 6 cm of height, with a weight of minimum 120 gr. The paste has a cream-colour and is soft and delicate. The rind is smooth and yellow to orange-red colour. It has a piquant flavour, rustic and slightly acid.
Appearance and Flavour
Muster PDO has a cylindrical shape which measures from 13 cm to 19 cm diameter and from 2.4 cm to 8 cm diameter. The weight spans from 450 gr to 1.5 kg. The Petit-Munster (or Petit-Munster-Géromé) PDO measures from 7 cm to 12 cm diameter and from 2 cm to 6 cm height, with a weight of minimum 120 gr. The paste is cream-colour, soft and delicate. The rind is smooth and yellow to orange-red colour. It has a piquant flavour, rustic and slightly acid and an aromatic scent.
Munster PDO has ancient origins linked to the history of Benedictines. In 660, the Benedictines established in Alsace a monastery around which originated a village which was called Munster, from the Latin word Monasterium, which means monastery. Just in this village, the monks took advantage from the luxury pastures of Vosges, where their cows cropped. Later, they further moved to the west, expanding their pastures until the chain of Lorraine mountains. In 1285, the inhabitants of Alsace and Lorraine founded a new city and called it Sancti Gerardi Mare, which later became Gérardmer. As the inhabitants pronounced it Géromé, the name given to the cheese was Munster-Géromé.
Munster PDO must be conserved in the least cold compartment of the refrigerator into a sealed package. Before eating it, it is suggested to leave it rest at room temperature for about one hour. It is tasted cold or used to prepare different warm dishes. In the original area, it is often spread on slices of bread and seasoned with the caraway, which sometimes is used to season it during the cheese-making phase, or together with boiled potatoes with their peel. It is used to prepare regional recipes like quiche and Munster omelette. It can be combined with strong red wines like Corton or Haut-Medoc and with wines produced in Alsace like Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir and also with beer.
The product is sold as Munster PDO and Petit-Munster PDO. It is marketed whole or in portions.
Munster PDO is a cheese which takes advantage from a very long tradition, to which is due its fame that permitted to maintain the production methods thanks to which it is still famous and appreciated.