Pronunciation: [MUHN-stuhr; MOON-ster]
This widely imitated cheese varies greatly, from that of the French original produced in Alsace's Vosges Mountains around the village of Munster to versions made in the United States. The highly prized European Munsters have pinkish-orange to reddish-brown rinds and a smooth, pale yellow interior with small holes. The texture is semisoft and the flavor ranges from mild when young to quite complex and assertive when aged. Raw-milk Munsters are more highly regarded, but those with less than 60 days of ripening cannot be imported to the United States at this time. The American versions, often spelled Muenster, have an orange rind, a lighter yellow interior and a decidedly bland flavor that in no way resembles the more robust European originals. See also cheese.