This French cheese comes from the province of Alsace, and was developed in the Middle Ages in the Vosges Mountains near the German border. Münster is so popular in Alsace that is is considered the region's "national" cheese. The cheese is also widely enjoyed in Germany, where large quantities of Münster is produced.
Münster is a washed-rind, surface-ripened cheese, possessing a shiny and smooth reddish rind. The cheese itself has a yellowish colour and a semi-soft texture, with a few tiny, scattered holes. Münster can range in size from 4 by 1 inch to 8 by 2 inches, and comes in a disc shape. The larger varieties of the cheese endure a ripening period of about 3 months, while the smaller cheeses will undergo a shorter ripening period of around 6 weeks.
Münster has a strong, tangy flavour, and a distinctive aroma, which it owes to the bacteria that develops on its surface during ripening. The aroma and the taste both vary with the maturity of the cheese, and Munster is known to get quite rank when over-ripe.
While the German and French varieties of Münster are both quite aromatic, there are also American and Danish variations (Muenster and Mynster, respectively), which are far less pungent.
Münster is recommended for consumption with high-calibre red wines at the end of meals, or as a snack. Its fat content is typically 45 percent.