A family owned company with more than 100 years of cheese-making experience. So you might have wondered why the French word for “mushroom” has come to represent cheeses produced in Germany. Although CHAMPIGNON mushroom, creamy and flecked with mushrooms, may give you a clue, it also may belie the tale.
Käserei Champignon (Käserei meaning “cheese maker”) was not named after CHAMPIGNON mushroom cheese. In fact, the first type of cheese Käserei Champignon produced had no mushrooms at all. Champignon found its roots when Julius Hirschle, its founder, traveled from Germany to France to learn how to make cheese in the early 1900’s. There he trained how to make the famous camembert cheese. He thought that using milk from Allgäu cows, or Swiss Brown cows could even improve the taste of the product, so when he came back to his Allgäu region in Bavaria, he started creating his own camembert, in the beginning supplying his friends and family.
By 1908, he had cultivated the recipe so well that his camembert was successfully sold in the Bavaria region. He then met Leopold Immler, a cheese merchant who was captivated by his product. His first milk contract came that year with a dairy co-op in Steig. Because the distinct aroma of mushroom (champignon) is found in camembert, Champignon was selected as the trademark name of the company, and written in the business registry in Berlin during 1909. Thus, Kaserei Champignon was born.
Today, the name now represents more than just the flavor of the original cheese, but a mark of quality cheese. The company’s head office is in Lauben, Allgau, in the pristine countryside of the Bavarian Alp Mountains.