Thursday, September 18, 2008

Liederkranz

No native American cheese has been so widely ballyhooed, and so deservedly, as Liederkranz, which translates "Wreath of Song."

Back in the gay, inventive nineties, Emil Frey, a young delicatessen keeper in New York, tried to please some bereft customers by making an imitation of Bismarck Schlossk√§se. This was imperative because the imported German cheese didn't stand up during the long sea trip and Emil's customers, mostly members of the famous Liederkranz singing society, didn't feel like singing without it. But Emil's attempts at imitation only added indigestion to their dejection, until one day—fabelhaft! One of those cheese dream castles in Spain came true. He turned out a tawny, altogether golden, tangy and mellow little marvel that actually was an improvement on Bismarck's old Schlossk√§se. Better than Brick, it was a deodorized Limburger, both a man's cheese and one that cheese-conscious women adored.

Emil named it "Wreath of Song" for the Liederkranz customers. It soon became as internationally known as tabasco from Texas or Parisian Camembert which it slightly resembles. Borden's bought out Frey in 1929 and they enjoy telling the story of a G.I. who, to celebrate V-E Day in Paris, sent to his family in Indiana, only a few miles from the factory at Van Wert, Ohio, a whole case of what he had learned was "the finest cheese France could make." And when the family opened it, there was Liederkranz.

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