Not to be sniffed at

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 September, 2010, 12:00am

As with a lot of other very smelly cheeses, limburger's bark is worse than its bite. As with epoisses and taleggio - also notoriously stinky - the limburger gets its 'scent' during the ripening process - the producers brush the exterior of the moulded cheese with a solution that promotes the growth of healthy bacteria, which not only prevents the formation of 'bad' bacteria but also helps to ripen the cheese from the outside in.

The flavour of this pasteurised cow's milk German cheese is surprisingly mild, though many people won't know this because they can't get past the smell. The cheese is firmer than epoisses and taleggio; it's spreadable but if you cut into it, it will still hold its shape without oozing.

Limburger needs to be stored away from ingredients that absorb odours. Unless you want your milk, cream and butter to smell like limburger, wrap it in aluminium foil, put it into a plastic container, then place it in the cheese section of the fridge. It's best eaten at room temperature.

The Germans like to eat limburger with rye bread, sometimes with raw onion (which gives the combination a double dose of pungency) and sprinkled with caraway seeds.

I like it with potato: melt it over boiled new potatoes; make twice-baked potatoes (bake the potato until soft then scoop out the flesh, mix it with butter, salt and pepper and limburger cheese, mound it back into the skin, then bake again), or mix it with mashed potato.