This is a soft cheese with washed rind whose origins date back to the seventh century when the monks began producing it at the monastery.
Back then, it provided a means of storing milk.
In the Munster Valley, this distinctive cheese is still produced using traditional methods and has been covered by a controlled designation of origin (appellation d'origine contrôlée - AOC) since 1969.
The best time to consume Munster is from May to October.
Le bibalakas (or bibalaskas)
This is obtained by crushing the white cheese (from the same day or the previous day, not matured) seasoned with fresh cream, chopped onions, salt and pepper. It is garnished with baked potatoes to make a traditional dinner.
How should Munster be enjoyed?
The most common way to eat Munster is with a slice of bread. Some people like to accompany it with cumin. It's also possible to make a full meal from it, by eating it accompanied with sauté potatoes or baked potatoes and a green salad.
Munster cheese can also be enjoyed in other ways, with the Munster Tartiflette being just one example.
It should ideally be accompanied by an Alsatian wine such as Tokay pinot-gris or Gewurtztraminer.
As a dessert, many farm-inns propose siesskas, a fromage frais of the day accompanied with fresh cream, sugar and kirsch.
How is the cheese produced?
We bring you the secrets of around 40 farmers from the Munster Valley.
It takes approximately 5 L of milk to produce one pound of Munster cheese.
Tradition demands that it should be made in the morning. Milk from the morning milking is mixed with the skimmed milk from the previous day’s milking. The milk heated to 32°C is poured into a large beaten copper cauldron known as a Kessel, and the rennet is added. The separation stage takes place an hour afterwards. The whey is drawn off, with the curds being placed in a mould. It will be turned several times and salted before being taken down to the maturing cellar.
For three weeks, it will be rubbed by hand every two days and its orangey red rind gradually forms, giving the cheese its pronounced flavour.
La Confrérie du Taste fromage (cheese tasting guild)
Its aim is to bring together cheese lovers, particularly those with a love of Munster cheeses.
The association was founded in 1987 and includes almost 450 cheese lovers. The robe worn by the guild members is reminiscent of the monks’ robes from Munster abbey.
In the middle of the bronze medallion we find the badge of the town of Munster and around it the badges of the 15 districts of the canton of Munster.