Cheese selections to complete your Oktoberfest celebrations

The next salute goes out to Bavarian Blu also produced in the Allgäu. Although considerably milder than Gorgonzola, it is reminiscent of the latter blended with Camembert. Bavarian Blu is made with rich cow’s milk and has a subtle, spicy finish. This cheese is often appealing to non-blue fans because it is more about the cream than blue mold veins. I love to partner this one with fresh fruit and Riesling. They make an awesome threesome. In light of the holiday at hand, try it with an Apfelwein (Germany’s version of a hard apple cider). The cloudy fermented apple juice cuts through the unctuous paste of Bavarian Blu.

Now on to something obscure to us yet quite beloved in Germany. Altenburger Ziegenkäse is a soft and creamy cheese flecked with caraway seeds. Eastern Germany is home to this delightful goats’ and cows’ milk creation. As a protected cheese, Altenburger is only made at two Eastern dairies. Since reunification it has seen a comeback all over the region. During Oktoberfest you would most likely catch this delicacy drizzled with sweet mustard resting next to a stein of Kölsch. The honeyed tang of the mustard and notable hoppiness of this top-fermented beer accent the caraway seeds without hiding them. Try a Früh Kölsch from the Cologne region if you can find one.

Hope you are now salivating due to the imagery of German cheeses and not that of German girls in Oktoberfest costumes. Even more sincerely, I hope you are lucky enough to experience this holiday as it was intended. The 200th Oktoberfest is sure to be the party of a lifetime -- as long as you don’t forget the cheese.

Kira Jefferson is a manager and resident "cheese guru" at SideBern's in South Tampa and is gracious enough to share her knowledge and passion for all things cheesy in CL's Food and Drink section.

“O’zapft is!” This is the cry used every year to open the festivities for Oktoberfest (as if anyone needs permission to begin consuming large quantities of beer in a giant tent). It means - “It’s tapped” and seems a fitting commencement for a kegger that has occurred for 200 years. A party this big must consist of more than just beer drinking, right? Of course! This celebration has it all: music, dancing, horse-drawn carriages, tight bodices, roller coasters, Ferris wheels, horse racing and shooting games (I still haven’t figured out how that works). The culinary delights run the gamut too consisting of roasted oxen, bratwursts over half a meter long, schnitzel, pork stews, whole slow cooked chickens and even braised pig’s knuckles. A beer festival with all these dishes wouldn’t be complete without cheese. So, in honor of this German holiday, I picked three käses, or cheeses, sure to be devoured at an event projected to host more than 5 million people.

Let’s start with the most known (and feared), Limburger. Although its roots are firmly grounded in Belgium, Limburger’s popularity created a need for production to increase during the mid 1800’s. Now a majority of this cow’s milk cheese is made in the Allgäu region of Germany. The rind is sticky and brownish orange due to being washed in bacteria. The aroma must be akin to what the floor of the beer tents will smell like once Oktoberfest is over, but as with most washed rind cheeses Limburger’s taste is mild. That’s not to say it isn’t meaty and barny tasting. This cheese is traditionally paired with potatoes, onions and dark pumpernickel bread. Sounds like the perfect breakfast for day two of Oktoberfest! Although Limburger pairs well with several styles of beer, it has an undeniable charisma with Lambics. The acidic sourness of a Belgium Lambic is simply erotic with Limburger. The sparkling cherry champagne flavor of Lindemans Kriek is my personal favorite.

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