Liederkranz is an American replication of Germany's Limburger cheese, made subtly different by the use of a distinct bacterial culture for ripening. The cow's milk cheese has the same texture and unique aroma, but features a distinctively robust and buttery flavor. It is made in a small, rectangular shape and has a moist, edible, golden yellow crust with a pale ivory interior and a heavy, honey-like consistency. It is particularly well complemented by dark bread and dark beer and can be used as an appetizer, on salads or sandwiches, or with fruits. As the cheese matures, the crust turns golden brown and the cheese a deeper color. Both flavor and aroma become much stronger.
The mildly pungent cheese was created in the late 1800s by Emil Frey, an apprentice cheesemaker at the Monroe Cheese Company in Monroe, New York. The owner, Adolphe Tode, also ran a successful New York delicatessen. At the time there was a heavy wave of German immigrants and Tode received many requests from them for Bismarck Schlosskäse, a traditional soft, smelly cheese. Due to inadequate refrigeration, much of this delicate cheese spoiled in transit. To meet the demand, Tode challenged his company's cheesemakers to duplicate the popular German cheese. After years of experimentation, Frey stumbled upon a spreadable, Limburger-style product.
The first samples of the new cheese were taken to the famous New York City singing society, the Liederkranz Club, whose members were patrons of Tode's deli. When they pronounced it wonderful, the cheese was named "Liederkranz" in their honor. Translated from German, the name means "wreath of song".