Munster vs. Gouda Cheese

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Not all cheeses are the same.
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If you're a cheese lover, the Netherlands and France offer hundreds of dairy creations to tempt your taste buds and among the many options you'll face are munster and gouda. What is gouda cheese made from? Typically, both munster and gouda are made from unpasteurized cow's milk. Both cheeses provide a decadently creamy snack, but the differences between the two may lead you to favor one over the other.

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How Is Gouda Cheese Made?

Gouda is made primarily from cow's milk, but it can also be made from sheep's or goat's milk. It's produced in large wheels weighing up to 25 pounds that, when ripe, are divided for market or sold whole to cheese wholesalers. Where does gouda cheese come from? Gouda hails from the South Holland region of the Netherlands. It is one of the most popular types of cheese in the world.

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Munster Cheese Origins

Munster comes from the French areas of Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comte. The French munster should not be confused with the American muenster, which is a processed cheese that makes an excellent addition to grilled cheese sandwiches.

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Taking a Taste

Gouda may be eaten "young" or "old" depending on how long it has aged, typically anywhere from a few weeks to several years. The young cheese is mild and creamy and similar in texture to colby, another semihard cheese, and the longer gouda ages, the harder and more flavorful it becomes. The older cheese develops a salty flavor somewhat reminiscent of Romano. Gouda cheese has a waxed rind that is yellow, orange or red on young cheeses and black on the older cheeses.

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Munster is a soft cheese made from cow's milk. The texture will remind you of brie, but the washed rind technique of making the cheese gives it a tangy flavor. The rind is red in color.

Both gouda and munster can have herbs, spices and even wine added when they are made to change the cheeses' flavor. Gouda typically gives off little smell, but the scent of munster can be quite strong. This smell may appeal to some people but put off others.

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Pairing the Cheeses

Whether young or old, gouda goes well with beer. If you are pairing gouda with wine, younger gouda goes best with sweeter or fruitier wines such as riesling while older gouda works well with full-bodied wines such as shiraz.

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Munster also tastes wonderful with beer, especially if the cheese has been flavored with cumin. When pairing munster with wine, you can choose from fruity selections like gewurztraminer or rich reds such as merlot.

Eating the Cheeses

Gouda is a versatile cheese that ranges in uses from snacks to dessert. The cheese accompanies apple and pear slices perfectly, pairs well with sweet desserts and nuts or can be used in soups, sauces or other recipes that call for cheese.

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If you are looking for a quick snack, munster is delicious spread over a piece of baguette or dark rye. The cheese also gives a tangy and creamy kick to baked or mashed potatoes.

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