June 11, 2004
German Cheese
Posted by Gordon Smith

Quick -- name a German cheese! Other than Limburger (which actually originated in Belgium). Maybe you thought of Tilsit, but that is from a town that now lies in Russia. The only other one I came up with was Muenster, but that is from a town in Alsace, which is now part of France.

Perhaps these modern national borders should not dictate the country of cheese origin, but the fact remains: Germany is not a cheese rich country. France, of course, is notorious for having many cheeses. Switzerland is not far behind. Spain and England also hold their own, but Germany is pathetic in the cheese department.

So much so that when I went to the local grocery earlier this week and asked for a "genuine German cheese," I felt like I had just stumped the band. The cheese assistant -- who knew her cheeses -- at first tried to persuade me to purchase something from France or Switzerland, but when I insisted on German cheese, she tried to rise to the challenge. She just didn't have much to work with. We ended up with a Swiss-like cheese and some Butterkäse ("butter cheese"), which may have been made with milk from German cows, but isn't distinctively German. To overcome this drought, I am headed for Switzerland tomorrow.

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