The History of Limburger
Limburger cheese originated in northern Europe during the 19th century, having originally been created by Belgian Trappist Monks from the province of Luttick in Belgium. It then moved on to Germany where it became extremely popular and the Germans adopted it as one of their very own cheeses.
It's manufacture in America was carried on by the Swiss and German rather than by Belgian emigrants. For them, it was a nostalgic, cheap saloon food. They liked it in a sandwich, with pumpernickel, spicy mustard, raw onion, and cold beer, in all a collection of strong tastes. By the late 20th century, most Limburger was produced in Germany and the United States, and today even the Belgians regard it as a German cheese.
In America, a Swiss immigrant named Rudolph Benkert cured the first Green County Wisconsin Limburger in his home cellar in 1867. The following year Nicholas Gerber, another Swiss immigrant, established the first Limburger factory in the area. Taverns all over the county were soon serving the potent cheese with locally-brewed beer, a combination patrons relished so much that when saloons closed during Prohibition, Limburger sales went into decline.
Limburger lost fashion during the great food migration to refrigeration, when food became ‘cleaner,’ ‘safer,’ less smelly and more sterile than ever before.
Today, a single cheese plant in Monroe, Wisconsin (Chalet Cheese Cooperative), produces all the surface-ripened Limburger made in the United States. Myron Olson of Chalet Cheese Co-op, a veteran cheese maker of 43 years and one of Wisconsin's "Master Cheese Makers" currently presides over his domain of Limburger.