All About Trappist Cheese

Trappista cheese

Puamelia / Flickr

Trappist cheese or monastery-style is a semi-hard, cow's milk cheese with a mild flavor and good melting properties, similar to Edam cheese, that can be sliced and eaten out of hand with fruit or wine, and used in cooking.

Popular the World Over

Also known as monk cheese, it can be found all over the world in cultures where monks exist or existed at one time. 

It has many names and varieties in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and the United States. Trappist cheese or trapista is one of the most popular cheeses in Hungary. In other Eastern Europe countries, it's known as:

  • Bulgaria - trapistki sirene
  • Croatia - trapista
  • Czech Republic - trappist sýr
  • Hungary - trapista
  • Lithuania - trappist sūris
  • Poland - ser trapistów
  • Romania - trappist brânză
  • Russia - trappistov syrom
  • Serbia - trapist
  • Slovakia - trappist syr
  • Slovenia - trapist sir
  • Ukraine - trappistov syrom

Characteristics of Trappist Cheese

Trappist cheese is pale yellow with some holes and is usually packaged in red plastic or red paraffin wax. It can be eaten out of hand, on sandwiches or incorporated into recipes such as Hungarian ham crescents known as Sonkás Kifli.

Good Applications for Trappist Cheese

Any recipe that requires a cheese to melt and become ooey-gooey good would be perfect for this type of cheese.

The Origins of Trappist Cheese

Trappist cheese is said to have originated in 18th-century France with the Roman Catholic monks of the Notre Dame de Port du Salut abbey. The recipe found its way to Hungary through the Bosnian monastery of Maria-Stern, and then to other parts of Europe and the United States. The original French recipe is still manufactured in France under the name of Port-Salut or Saint-Paulin.

It's All About Survival

Most Trappist monasteries and Trappistine convents are in some type of business that produces goods that are sold to provide income for their homes and needs. Some of these commodities include cheese, as we see here, bread, wine, pastries, clothing, and even coffins. But many of the monks, who are not required to take a vow of alcohol abstinence, produce some of the world's most famous beers.