The legend of Limburger: Known as the world’s stinkiest cheese

By  | 

MONROE, Wis. (WMTV) -- Chalet Cheese Cooperative in Monroe is the only cheese maker in the country still making the world famous Limburger cheese and they make it using milk from local farms.

Limburger cheese is a bit of a legend in Green County, Wisconsin. Several cheese makers in the area used to manufacture it. The head cheese maker at Chalet Cheese Coop says it was popular with Swiss immigrants.

“There’s still a market out there for limburger so it’s not as high as it used to be but there’s a market and we’re seeing some of the younger generation, they’re more curious and inquisitive and they want to try these unique cheeses,” cheese maker Mike Hlubek said.

He says the cheese gets its smell from a smear they put on the surface. The smear recipe at Chalet has been around since 1885. Once the cheese gets its smear it ages for about a week before it’s packaged.

“There is an aroma, there’s no getting around that, but kind of like an earthy aroma but it gives it such a great flavor,” Hlubeck said.

Chalet Cheese Cooperative gets its milk from more than a dozen farms in Green County. One of those farms belongs to the Minder family. They milk around 160 cows and send all of their milk to Chalet.

“The whole local aspect of it is something to be proud of,” Minder said.

There’s even a local tavern famous for a sandwich they make using the Limburger cheese. Baumgartner’s Cheese Tavern in downtown Monroe serves up the stinky cheese on rye bread with a horseradish brown mustard and raw red onions.

“It’s really culturally important to the area – it’s one of the oldest cheeses that was made here and we’ve been serving it since 1931 at Baumgartner’s,” owner Chris Soukup said.

Soukup says the store goes through 40 to 50 pounds of Limburger cheese a week. He says it’s their most popular sandwich.

“It’s a very pungent smell. It’s really strong. A lot of people say it smells like gym socks. I don’t think that’s the case,” Soukup said.

“Well it’s surmchous to begin with and what I like about it is that it has an intoxicating aroma. And not only that but it tastes every bit as good as it smells,” Baumgartner’s customer Hans Von Allmen said.

The Limburger Sandwich at Baumgartner’s was recently named the “Best Sandwich in Wisconsin" by People Magazine.

The Minder farm, where the stinky cheese gets its start, his hosting the Green County Breakfast on Saturday, 25 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. You can find more information about the breakfast here.