Haxaire Munster Cheese DairyAuthentic Munster cheese, made here in the Munster Valley of the Vosges Mountains, is as much like the sliced munster cheese we put on sandwiches in America as a filet mignon is like a hamburger. The real Munster is smooth, soft and creamy, has a yellow-orange-red rind, and comes in small (1 pound, usually) rounds. It's a stinky cheese, for sure, but the rich cheese is addictive. The real Munster is spelled that way. It's not munster, Munster or Muenster. Those names belong on the bland cheeses from Germany, Denmark and Wisconsin. People in Alsace eat Munster at least once a day, we've been told, and usually with the mid-day meal. It's the perfect mate to the local gewurztraminer Alsatian wine, but also goes well with full-bodied, full-aroma red wines and beer. It's served with baked potatoes. On cheese trays, it often is served with a little bowl of cumin on the side. The La Graine au Lait cheese dairy here produces one Munster variety with cumin in the cheese. (According to local history, monks in the Munster Valley made the cheese as early as 850. People living around the monastery were starving, and the cheese was one thing they could give to them. By the 13th century, the people themselves were making Munster. Our Elderhostel group watched through large viewing windows one morning as employees of La Graine au Lait made the cheese, carefully turning the molds repeatedly to drain off the liquid, then dry-salting to form the crust and flavor the cheese, and finally, leaving the rounds to dry out for 40 hours before they go into the ripening room. In a minimum of 21 days of ripening, Munster will develop its distinctive flavor and color. La Graine au Lait is a partnership of 25 farmers with about 35 cows each. They now run the Munster cheese dairy that had been operated by the Jacques Haxaire family since 1929.