We're pretty happy with a good brie or sharp cheddar, but some people have more unique tastes when it comes to cheese. Liederkranz cheese, for instance, is currently a Wisconsin specialty, but you may be surprised to learn where this soft cheese was originally invented.
When and Where Was Liederkranz Cheese Invented?
It’s pretty neat to know that my hometown, Monroe, is the birthplace of Velveeta and Liederkranz cheese. The town used to host cheese festivals during September in celebration of this, though there hasn’t been one for a few years now. #dmj453 pic.twitter.com/LVfR0gGwBg
— Jared Castañeda (@jar_c_135) November 15, 2020
Liederkranz is essentially an American version of Limburger cheese created in 1891 by Emil Frey, a Swiss cheesemaker, in Monroe, New York. (Fun fact: he also invented Velveeta!) At that time, a man named Adolph Tode owned the Monroe Cheese Company in the Hudson Valley in New York as well as a delicatessen in New York City. He had a lot of German immigrants for customers who missed their smelly Bismarck Schlosskäse cheese from their native country that was difficult to import, according to Atlas Obscura.
Frey was actually an apprentice to Tode and together they began selling the spreadable cheese likely named after a famous New York City singing society, the Liederkranz Club. Although the Monroe Cheese Company eventually fell under new ownership, Frey followed the production of Liederkranz to Van Wert, Ohio, in 1926. It was sold again to the Borden Company in 1929.
Sadly, according to the Monroe Historical Society, inspectors found bacterial contamination in a batch of Liederkrantz in 1985, and it was no longer produced...until recently. In the mid-2000s, DCI Cheese Co., a company out of Richfield, Wisconsin, took ownership of the cheese and reintroduced it to the market and cheese lovers everywhere in 2010. It is now considered a Wisconsin cheese.
What Is Liederkranz Cheese Like?
Liederkranz is a "surface-ripened stinky snack cheese," according to Cheese Underground. It is described as having a similar texture and smell as Limburger, but with a "distinctively robust and buttery flavor." The cheese is made in small blocks and has an "edible, golden yellow crust with a pale ivory interior and a heavy, honey-like consistency." Yum!
The smelly cheese is a semi-soft, cow's milk cheese, and available for us to enjoy today just as it was made available to immigrants from Germany all those years ago.