I would’ve thought trivia on one of the great stinky cheeses of the world would be easy to find—not so. Here’s what I’ve been able to determine:
it was invented by Trappist monks in Belgium
the name came from Limburg, where it was first sold
How old is it? Was it always so stinky? Etc. etc.! “Trappist” would seem to indicate that it postdates 1663, when La Trappe monastery adopted the strict observance… but I don’t know more than that (and know less about Belgian monasteries and their founding dates).
It smells like someone ate sweaty gym socks and cottage cheese, and then vomited it up. Despite the Germanness, I’ve never had the guts to actually put it in my mouth. Hilde, a little old lady at church, raves about how wonderful it is on crackers with a schmear of butter and parsley. Not falling for it.
The only place it’s made in the US is outside my hometown in Wisconsin.
It’s made with the same bacteria that grows on the human foot. Why in God’s name that should be is something I cannot explain, other than that Wisconsinites in general and Monroans in particular are, like some of their cheeses, “off.”
I wonder if it’s popular with foot fetishitsts. I guess this would be the place to ask.
On rye: Limburger, braunschweiger (liver sausage), a slab of raw onion, and if you think you’ll be able to taste it some brown mustard. The old guys in Monroe are like college boys daring each other to take bigger bites of habanero pepper and use inch-thick slabs of limburger and half-inch slices of onion but that’s crazy.
Personally, I preferred Liederkranz. Rumors keep coming that Beatrice Foods or a company in the Antipodes has a sample of the culture, but it’s been so long that I’m doubting it. So it goes.
Slithy, tell the brotherhood all about Baumgartner’s Tavern on the Square. As far as I know it is the only place in the world that you can sit down at the bar and order, and receive, a Limburger and raw onion sandwich on dark bread. With a glass of Hubner’s in makes a wonderful lunch. I had it (minus the beer) often when I went there with my great-grandfather in the early 1950s.
On reflection, maybe you can get a Limburger on rye at the Turner Hall, too.
When I introduced limburger to my German class, one brave boy tasted it, promptly ran to the bathroom, came back a few shades paler and resumed class. Twenty minutes later he burped, and then croaked in horror, “It’s coming back!” I nearly peed myself.
We locals stayed out of Baumgartners, and everyplace else on the Square. Down the hill from Baumgartners was Marge’s bar, where the local biker gang, the Apparition (or the Aborigines, if you weren’t erudite enough to use the word “apparition”) hung out, and received hand jobs from Marge.
Further down the street, on the kitty-corner opposite Turner Hall, was the City Box, an all varnished plywood-panel appointed tavern with an 7-foot ceiling. They served Limburger, but the Swiss cheese there (from the little hole -in-the-wall factroy outlet store next door) would astonish your taste buds. You ate it and all other cheeses committed suicide, including the stuff they sold to the tourists up at the Swiss Colony store next to Baumgartners, since they then had no hope of competing.
nitpick: it wasn’t Hubner beer you remember, but Huber. I went to high school with the heiresses, two beautiful blonde Swiss girls who were at that sad stage in some kids’ lives when they learn that they’re more responsible adults than their parents are.
Strange little town, made of stinky cheese & soapy beer.
That’s because the bacteria happily set up housekeeping in your gums. Brushing isn’t enough. Mouthwash isn’t enough. Flossing isn’t enough. What you need is all of that, PLUS a WaterPik firing half mouthwash and half hot water. And maybe some baking soda and peroxide.
I tried Limburger exactly once. I figured how bad can it be, they make it, people buy it and eat it. So I bought some, got it home and opened up the wrapper. What immediately hit my nostrils was very concentrated cat urine. So I figured it can’t possibly taste as bad as the smell, and took a bite. Well, it tasted even worse than the smell. I forced myself to swallow that bite, and keep it down, then threw out the rest. It was the same reaction as when I tried haggis. These are the only two foods I’ve ever tasted that I absolutely will never taste again.