Serious Cheese

While France, Italy and Switzerland have basked in the cheese spotlight for centuries, other European countries have quietly perfected delicious, functional and down-to-earth cheeses that rival their better-known counterparts. Germany and Austria, two nations little known for their cheeses, have been around for a long time and are only slowly being perceived here in the United States.

In fact, if you like smelly cheese, these two countries make incredibly spicy specimens that challenge your idea of “edible”.”Murray’s Cheese in New York recently started carrying a whole range of rare German and Austrian cheeses, four of which were concentrated here after the click.

Romadur is an extremely tasty raw cow’s milk cheese, with a creamy texture and a rich, yeasty flavor. It is a stained cheese, which means that the crust is coated with brine during the ripening period of 4 to 6 weeks to promote the growth of bacteria that help break down the cheese and make it tasty. It is produced by the Bremenreider Genossenschaft im Allgäu, in southwestern Bavaria.

The white lacquer (or “white lacquer”) is a square and crumbly white cheese whose small size belies its intensely tart and spicy flavor. I’m afraid to say that it’s a little too powerful to be dropped on a cheese plate, unless you’re serving it to brave cheese lovers. Alternatively, you can grate it and serve it over spaetzle or another type of pasta, which, according to Murray, is exactly what the Bavarians like to do with it.

Bergkase Alt -literally “old mountain cheese” – is an Austrian variant of alpine cheese such as Gruyère or Comté. It is a raw cow’s milk cheese, aged for about 10 months, whose texture is smooth and elastic, dotted with small pea-sized eyes (holes). It is a little drier and grainier than its Swiss and French cousins, but it has the same nutty and sweet flavor that distinguishes these cheeses. This would be great as a Fondue or melted in a grilled cheese sandwich on Pumpernickel.

The Bachensteiner from the Bregenzerwald forest in western Austria is by far the most foul-smelling cheese I’ve ever seen. In all conscience, I can’t tell you exactly what this cheese looks like for worry that it will spoil your appetite. But it tastes good! The cheese is much softer in the mouth than in the nose. It has an earthy, meaty flavor and a semi-firm texture that goes well with a bold black bread. It is a raw cow’s milk cheese that has aged only 4 to 6 weeks and has the shape of a gold ingot. Attention: this cheese should only be served to close friends and friendly relatives. Its smell could scare even the most open-minded gourmets. They are warned.

If you are an ambitious Fallophile, you should think about getting your hands on some of them. You will almost certainly expand your cheese horizons. Also, honestly, I can’t think of a better season to unpack your Lederhosen, pour some Riesling and enjoy your Super stinky selection of rare German cheeses.

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