Two weeks ago during a hike, I came out from behind a shower of red and yellow leaves to find a ramshackle farmhouse and a distinct, though not really unpleasant, funky foot odor. The trail leader apologized for the smell, and said we were passing the farm of a Münster fromager, which in this case means cheesemaker, not cheeseseller.
Before I came to France, I thought Münster came from… well, Münster! In Germany. But there is a small town in France named Munster, which could have something to do with the name. This cheese has nothing to do with Muenster, either, which is made in America and kind of tastes like nothing.
Münster-Gerome, a cow’s cheese.
Made by: Someone in Lorraine. I stopped peering at the case because the cheesemonger was looking at me funny.
Hails from: Alsace/Lorraine (called Munster in Alsace, Gerome in Lorraine)
Background: Apparently the Vosges area has its own special cow, and I think this cheese is made from those Vosgienne cows. It’s also a washed-rind cheese, which means that monks used to wash it in brine to keep it nice and moist, and bacteria-fied. I don’t think any monks were involved in this one, sadly.
Pasteurized? No way, baby.
Can I eat the rind? Yes, and it’s less papery than Brie or Camembert. I didn’t mind it.
Serve it with: sausages, or with potatoes. Good for a tart, quiche or tartine. This recipe is basic Franco/German cuisine stereotype, but looks good and easy.
Today’s market purchase tricked me. I timidly cut off one small piece and put it in my mouth as though a bomb might go off if I wasn’t careful. My first thought was, “this isn’t strong at all!” My second thought, about 30 seconds later, was me yelling “WHOA!” out loud. The taste will catch up with you and hang onto your tongue for dear life. This cheese also comes in a cumin-speckled version, which I am truly skeptical about. I’ll try anything once, though.