What is Allgäuer Emmentaler? The Pungent Delight from the Allgäu Region

Allgäuer Emmentaler (GERMANY) - Cheese Origin

In the heart of Bavaria, nestled among the verdant valleys and rolling hills of the Allgäu region, a culinary treasure is meticulously crafted – the Allgäuer Emmentaler. This Swiss-style cheese, renowned for its distinctive holes and pungent aroma, is a testament to the rich traditions and exceptional dairy farming of this unique area.

The Allgäuer Emmentaler, often simply referred to as ‘Emmentaler’, is not just another cheese. It’s the embodiment of a centuries-old tradition, a symbol of the Allgäu region’s commitment to quality, and a sensory delight for cheese connoisseurs worldwide. Its tantalizing flavor profile, ranging from mildly sweet to robustly spicy, along with its firm yet supple texture, sets it apart in the world of fine cheeses.

Quick Facts About Allgäuer Emmentaler

Country of OriginGermany
RegionBaden-Württemberg, Bavaria
AOP/PDOProtected by EU legislation under the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status since 1997
Age3 to 6 months (some versions aged up to 12 months)
MilkUnpasteurized cow’s milk
Fat content33% to 45%
Weight & thickness176 lb (80 kg); 110cm (43.33 inches)
SizeDiameter 90cm (35.5 inches); Height 110cm (43.5 inches)
Salt contentEvaporated salt approximately 1%  
FlavorRobust, slightly sweet, and nutty with a fruity undertone
TasteMild nutty (hazelnut in particular), milky, buttery
PairingWhite bread, fruit tea, spaetzle, crème fraîche, red wine
TextureFirm, supple
ColorGolden yellow

What is Allgäuer Emmentaler?

What is Allgäuer Emmentaler?

Allgäuer Emmentaler is a delicious and intriguing cheese variety that originated from the picturesque Allgäu region of Bavaria in Germany. This cheese has a rich history and an equally rich flavor profile, making it a beloved choice among cheese connoisseurs worldwide.

At first glance, Allgäuer Emmentaler might remind you of Swiss Emmental due to its characteristic large holes or ‘eyes’. However, this German cheese variety has its own unique charm. Made traditionally from unpasteurized cow’s milk sourced from the Alpine meadows, Allgäuer Emmentaler carries a hint of the lush Bavarian countryside in its taste.

The flavor of Allgäuer Emmentaler is robust, slightly sweet, and nutty. It carries a subtle fruity undertone that adds to its complexity. This cheese has a firm texture, which makes it an excellent choice for slicing and melting. Whether you use it in fondue, raclette, sandwiches, or as a topping for baked dishes, Allgäuer Emmentaler never fails to add a gourmet touch to your meals.

True to the age-old cheese-making traditions, Allgäuer Emmentaler is typically aged for a minimum of three months. Some versions are even aged for up to twelve months to achieve a stronger, more intense flavor. As the cheese ages, its flavor becomes more pronounced, adding depth to its already fascinating flavor profile.

From a nutritional perspective, Allgäuer Emmentaler is high in protein and calcium, making it a healthy addition to your diet. However, as with all good things, it should be enjoyed in moderation due to its high fat content. All in all, Allgäuer Emmentaler is more than just a cheese – it’s a delightful culinary journey through the heart of Bavaria.

Fun fact: Allgäuer Emmentaler is considered a domed cheese because of its affinage in warm caves, which promotes propionic fermentation responsible for the holes in its interior.

What Does Allgäuer Emmentaler Taste Like?

Allgäuer Emmentaler is renowned for its unique and distinctive taste which is attributed to the raw cow’s milk it’s made from, and the flora of the Allgäu Alps where the cows graze. This cheese has a mildly nutty flavor that becomes stronger as it ages. When young, it has a mild taste, but with time, it develops into a more robust flavor profile.

The cheese is golden yellow in color, flexible yet firm in consistency, and features cherry-sized holes throughout its body. After maturing for at least three months, Allgäuer Emmentaler becomes supple and acquires a hint of hazelnut in its taste. Some even describe it as naturally spicy, tying back to the particular nourishment of the cows producing the milk used in its creation.

Allgäuer Emmentaler Tasting Notes

  • Flavor Profile: Allgäuer Emmentaler has a complex flavor profile. It starts off with a slightly sweet taste, which is soon complemented by a nutty flavor.
  • Intensity: The intensity of the flavor increases with age. A young Allgäuer Emmentaler will have a mild taste, while an aged one will exhibit a more robust and intense flavor.
  • Fruity Undertone: There’s a subtle fruity undertone that adds to its complexity and enhances the overall flavor.
  • Spiciness: Some people also detect a hint of natural spiciness in Allgäuer Emmentaler, especially in the ones made from the milk of cows that graze on the rich flora of the Allgäu Alps.
  • Texture: The texture is firm and becomes more supple as it ages. This texture contributes to the mouthfeel when tasting the cheese.
  • Aftertaste: The aftertaste of Allgäuer Emmentaler is pleasantly lingering, with a hint of hazelnut often detected in more mature cheeses.

What Pairs Well With Allgäuer Emmentaler?

Food that goes well with Allgäuer Emmentaler:

CategoryFood Pairings
MeatsSmoked ham, Prosciutto, Salami
BreadsDark rye bread, Baguette, Pretzels
FruitsApples, Pears, Grapes
NutsAlmonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts
VegetablesPickles, Roasted bell peppers, Olives
SpreadsFig jam, Quince paste, Honey
CondimentsWhole grain mustard, Horseradish, Chutney
OthersDark chocolate, Fondue mix

Also read: What Fruit Goes on a Charcuterie Board?

Beverage that goes well with Allgäuer Emmentaler:

CategoryBeverage Pairings
WinesCabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay
BeersLager, Pilsner, Wheat Beer
SpiritsBrandy, Whisky, Aged Rum
Non-AlcoholicApple Cider, Grape Juice, Herbal Tea

Also read: Best Wine and Cheese Pairings: The Ultimate Guide

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