Aug 21, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part Five

When I was a child, I remember a story called Giant McGregor and the Limburger Cheese. It was in a book of Christmas stories and the only thing I remember about it was that the Limburger cheese was very smelly.

Limburger cheese is, in fact, quite famous for its smell, commonly compared to body odour and garnering it the nick name of "Stinky Cheese." Originally created by Trappist monks in Belgium, it was adopted early on by the Germans and is often thought of as a German cheese.

It's made from cow's milk and has a reddish-orange or brown rind. It's a soft or semi-soft cheese ranging in colour from white to pale yellow, sometimes containing small, irregular shaped openings.

I have never tasted Limburger cheese, but it is said to taste much better than it smells. The taste is spicy and slightly sweet. You can actually cut down on the pungent smell of this cheese by removing the rind.

So what makes this cheese so stinky? It happens during the cheese making process, when something called brevibacterium linens is added to the milk to aid it into separating into curds and whey. Brevibacterium linens is the same bacterium found on your skin causing body odour and particularly foot odour. A brine wash is applied every few days during the aging process, and after three months the cheese is aged properly - and very pungently.

As this cheese is often the butt of many jokes, I couldn't resist including a few Limericks about Limburger.


Almost everyone agrees that Limburger is best served with plenty of cold beer.

Cut a slice and try it on its own, you may be surprised that it's not as bad on its own as you might think.

Spread it on rye crackers or Melba toast.

Use on rye or pumpernickel toast.

Other good snacks to have it with are tinned fish, onions, crackers, fruits, and vegetables.


Basic Limburger Sandwich Recipe

2 slices rye bread (dark, light or pumpernickel)
Prepared brown mustard
Limburger cheese, sliced
Thick slices of sweet onion

Preparation: To assemble sandwich, spread mustard on rye bread slices; layer with limburger cheese and sweet onion slices.

Serve with your favourite beer. Makes 1 sandwich.

Limburger Cheese Sandwiches (with Variations)
Paoli Cheese has a whole page of links to Limburger Cheese recipes.

If you would like to try making your own stinky cheese, I did find one set of instructions: How to Make Limburger Cheese

You probably won't be able to find Limburger cheese at your local grocery store, but it's available in most cheese specialty shops or you can buy on-line at

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