Germans are not only known for being one of the largest consumers of cheese, but they are also known as one of the largest cheese producers in the world. In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day today, we decided to offer a look into ten varieties of cheese that call Germany home. Not all of these cheeses can be easily found in U.S. grocery stores, but perhaps the ones you do find could make a killer German grilled cheese sandwich.
A cheese with an identity crisis, Limburger cheese originates from the Duchy of Limburg, which now finds itself divided across Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Though only Germany remains brave enough to produce the cheese most famously known for its stinky feet aroma.
Limburger, for those who can brave the smell, is actually quite mild in taste with a grassy and somewhat tangy flavor.
Made from pasteurized cow’s milk, Limburger can come in a wide selection of varieties depending on how long it is aged. Starting off as a firm and crumbly cheese, Limburger transforms into its more recognizable smooth and creamy texture, ripened with bacteria that gives it its famous smell.
2. Allgauer Emmentaler
Germany’s version of the Swiss Emmentaler, mostly produced in the Swabia region of the country, is a firm and nutty cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. While not quite as pungent as Emmentaler’s from Switzerland, the German variety still packs a strong aroma.
One of the more popular cheeses across Germany, Butterkäse is known for its buttery taste and creamy texture… hence the name “butter cheese”. Its short aging time gives this cheese a mild flavor and is perfect for melting or spreading. Despite its name, Butterkäse contains no butter and is produced from pasteurized cow’s milk.
4. Allgauer Bergkäse
Allgauer Bergkäse, also known as Bavarian Bergkäse, is considered the little brother of the Allgauer Emmentaler. It is the only German cheese with “PDO” (Protected Designation of Origin) status and is an artisanal cheese handmade from the milk of cows in the Allgaeu Alps.
This cheese is perfect sliced and served on sandwiches with a nutty full-flavored taste and aromatic smell.
Quark is a European staple that has struggled to catch on in America. This smooth and creamy cheese is likened to cottage cheese and yogurt, but if you use either as a substitute in recipes you’ll find the results less than satisfactory.
The soft white cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk is quite mild in flavor and is often sold in tubs seasoned with herbs and spices. Quark makes a perfect base for creamy pasta sauces and an excellent cheesecake.
This sour milk cheese originates from the Harz mountain region of Germany and comes in two well-known varieties: small and round known as Handkäse or Taler, and the cylindrical Stangenkäse.
Typically flavored with caraway, Harzer can pack a punch with strong flavor and an equally strong smell. Due to its low fat content (1%) and very high levels of protein (~30%), Harzer is a perfect cheese for dieters.
This semi-soft cheese lives up to its name (smoke cheese) with a smokey aroma and flavor and is almost exclusively produced under the ‘Basils Original Rauchkäse’ brand.
It is said to be produced using only the highest quality pasteurized milk from cows in the Bavarian Alps and is smoked over Bavarian birch and spruce wood according to a centuries-old process.
Romadur is another cheese that finds its home in the Allgau region of Bavaria and while it is often compared to Limburger cheese, its funk is unique and tastes nothing like the famous foot cheese.
This cheese produced from raw cow’s milk has a rich taste and a jelly-like texture. Romadur is perfect for spreading or melting.
This 19th-century cheese traces its roots back to the German province of East Prussia and can be made from either pasteurized or unpasteurized cow’s milk.
Tilsit, when made from unpasteurized milk, is another cheese often compared to Limburger due to its very pungent smell, whereas the pasteurized is quite the opposite with a mild flavor and odor.
Yet another cheese from the Allgau region of Bavaria, Cambazola is made from pasteurized cow’s milk and is a cross between Brie and blue cheese, and is often referred to as ‘Blue Brie’.
Its texture is smooth and creamy, and its taste is sweet, sharp, and nutty. Like blue cheese, Cambazola features pockets of moldy veining that will almost certainly keep picky eaters away from this German staple.