Imagine the opposite of a breath mint, a cheese so oniony and powerful that even mice would retreat into their holes. What you have is America's own stink mint, a takeoff on Limburger that was once known as Liederkranz, named after an all-male New York singing club of the same name.
Liederkranz disappeared from the American cheese scene in 1985 but was recently revived by some folks in Wisconsin, DCI Cheese and the Chalet Cheese Co-op in Monroe. As my boyfriend cried out after the first bite, "Whoa, this is grandfather cheese!" True, Liederkranz calls to mind hairy-legged men in lederhosen running through the Black Forest. It's not a cheese for the faint of heart, but then, if you like Raclette, sweat and the thought of hairy men in lederhosen, chances are you will love Liederkranz.
Given the number of online comments responding to the story of Liederkranz in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel -- there were only three, but they were enthusiastic -- I'm not sure I see a Liederkranz revolution exactly, but I do know there will be at least a few snack-cheese-lovin' seniors relishing its return.
In appearance, Liederkranz looks a little bit like a Jersey Cow in the form of Velveeta. When dislodged from its foil wrapping, the surface appears stippled with pale brown markings, and the texture looks creamy. One bite and its pungency shoots across your tongue, where it forms a long-lasting seal across the roof of your mouth. Beefy. Oniony. Barnyardy. Ooo, I quite like it!
The key to enjoying Liederkranz is...well, other people who enjoy Liederkranz. My boyfriend left the house; I didn't mind having a Liederkranz party for one, but next time I think I'll call in the stink lovers and serve up plenty of dark beer, rye bread and pickles. Then we'll crack the windows, put on some polka and chomp away.
Tenaya Darlington blogs about cheese at Madame Fromage.