German Cheeses

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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German cheeses viewed collectively, are a disappointment. Before the reunification of the country, W. Germany alone ranked fourth of the countries of the world in cheese production; but the originality and variety of German cheeses does not match this lofty position.

Many German cheeses have external inspiration, like the emmental which has been made with success ever since Swiss experts were summoned in the 1840s to give advice on it to the cheese-makers of the Allgäu region. The same applies to limburger, the best known of the strong-smelling cheeses for which Germans seem to have a special liking; it had its origin in Belgium (although romadur, its odoriferous partner, came from Bavaria). And the German Münster is a version of the French munster. The origins of tilsiter are more confusing. It was first made at Tilsit, when that city was in E. Prussia, but by Dutchmen.