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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Munster despite its name, is a French cheese, from Munster in the Vosges mountains of Alsace near the German frontier. Its origin is attributed to Irish monks who settled in Alsace in the 7th century. The name Munster is from the same root as ‘monastery’. A similar cheese is also made in Germany (where it is spelled ‘Münster’).

Munster is a surface-ripened, semi-soft, whole-milk cheese, best made (and supposedly only made) from the milk of the old Vosgienne breed of cows. The cheeses are ripened by surface bacteria in a cool cellar. These produce a less pungent smell than do the diverse organisms which infect many surface-ripened cheeses. The flavour is tangy but not strong.