History of Limburger Cheese
You can tell you are approaching
Monroe, Wisconsin, when cheese factories and dairy cows begin to appear
all over the countryside. Just veer off the highways onto Wisconsin's
back roads to discover the dozens of small, quality cheese producers. One cheese in particular stand alone in
Monroe. That is Limburger cheese, undoubtedly one of the stinkiest
cheeses in the world! Limburger actually smells worse than it tastes.
For many people though, the aroma is both the beginning and the end of
the acquaintance. It is a food people either love or love to hate.
This cheese gets more pungent with age. When the cheese is very young, up to one month old, it is
firm, crumbly and salty, much like Feta cheese. At six weeks, it is
softening on the corners but still has a firm center that’s salty and
chalky. At two months, the core is almost gone and the body is smooth
and creamy. At three months or more, it’s developed an intense smell and
flavor; it’s spreadable, pungent and almost bitter. But despite its aroma, Limburger cheese
has legions of fans.
This area of Wisconsin, just outside of Monroe in Green
County, used to be home to more than 100 small cheese plants making
Limburger, among other Old World varieties. Cheese-making began in Wisconsin around
1840, when immigrants with cheese-making skills began arriving in the
area. A group of Swiss immigrants settled in Green County, around
Monroe, and began producing the same cheese they had enjoyed in their
homeland. In 1867, Rudolph Benkerts, Green County's
first cheese maker, began making Limburger cheese in his home cellar. By
1880, Limburger was being made a twenty-five cheese factories in Green
County, and by1930, there were more than a hundred companies producing
it. Today, only one company in the United States still make it, the
Chalet Cheese Cooperative of Monroe, Wisconsin.
The people of Wisconsin have such
affection for this strong-smelling Limburger that their state is
probably the only place in America where you can go into a tavern and
order a Limburger on rye bread with raw onions and brown mustard. The
sandwich is usually served on freezer paper and is traditionally washed
down with a locally brewed beer. Some places even give you a breath
Limburger Sandwich Recipe - How To Make A Limburger Sandwich:
Photo by Barrett
Buss from the website
Too Many Chefs.
My father, Kenneth Stewart, loved limburger sandwiches! As a young girl,
whenever Dad would eat one of his strong smelling sandwiches, my
brothers and I would cover our noses and make funny noises as he shooed
us off. - Linda Stradley
Yields: 1 sandwich
Prep time: 10 min
2 slices rye bread (dark, light, or pumpernickel)
Prepared brown mustard
Limburger cheese, sliced
Thick slices of sweet onion
To assemble sandwich, spread mustard on rye bread slices; layer with limburger cheese and sweet onion slices.
Serve with your favorite beer.
Makes 1 sandwich.