One of the cheeses on the cheese platter in the restaurant in Phalsbourg was the local Munster. In Belgium we have a cheese that's quite similar in taste ... and just as smelly!
The region in the east of
The green pastures provide excellent and ample grazing space for cattle. No wonder that this area produces one of the best known Belgian cheeses ‘Le Herve’. It was fellow blogger Loulou who inspired me to write a post about this cheese. Loulou’s blog hosts a monthly 'Fête du Fromage'. On September 15th she will be posting her 9th ‘Fête du Fromage International Cheese Tasting Event’. Through her ‘Cheese festival’ I hope to give our Herve some international ‘exposure’.
I chose to write about the Herve because it goes way back in time. It is famous, or should I say notorious, for its strong smell, not unlike a ripe Munster from the Alsace or a Maroilles from northern France. It is quite ‘harmless’ as long as you keep it refrigerated. The smell starts to manifest itself when the cheese is kept at room temperature for too long. In the past, the cheese was simply wrapped in greaseproof paper. Today, to protect our delicate nostrils from the strong smell, the wrapped Herve is sold in sealed plastic containers.
The delicate orange crust of the cubic shaped cheese (approx. 7x7x7 cm) is slightly sticky. The creamy inside has a rather firm structure which nevertheless easily melts in your mouth. In spite of the typical strong smell, the taste is unusually soft. This is probably due to the high fat content, up to 50%. Nevertheless, you could call it 'piquant' of 'spicey', as it has a distinctive flavour.
To enhance the authentic flavour of the Herve, you serve it with a dark and sweet apple of pear syrup from the same region called: ‘Sirop de Liège’ or ‘Sirop d’Aubel’. If you want to add a ‘veggie’ and crunchy touch, cut some raw cauliflower in bite size bits. A thick slice of multi-cereal bread and a glass of ruby or tawny port will supply the final touch.
I'm curious to know whether you can get Herve or Munster where you live? And did you ever buy it?
P.S. Please ignore the spring onions and red peppers in the photo. They’re only there to add a touch of colour …