Origins

Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO is a cheese made from raw cow's milk in the German part of the Allgäu region. It was awarded the European Protected Designation of Origin in 1997.

The essence of Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO relies on fresh milk sourced from herds that graze on the high pastures of the northern foothills of the Alps. The local areas of Lindau (Lake Constance), Oberallgäu, Ostallgäu, Unterallgäu in the Swabian part of Bavaria, including the towns of Kaufbeuren, Kempten and Memmingen, also located in this part of Germany, offer the unique environment for making this renowned cheese. Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO is also produced in the Ravensburg and Bodenseekreis districts, in the southeastern part of neighbouring Baden-Württemberg.

The cattle graze on lush mountain pastures blessed with a view of the Allgäu Alps. iStock.com/Drepicter

It is in this backdrop of lush mountain pastures and breath-taking views of the Allgäu Alps that Swiss Alpine shepherds took up employment around 1820. Swiss Alpine dairymen also settled in the Allgäu region finding that it reminded them of home: the climate, the landscapes and the agricultural structure. As a result, they began incorporating their own cheese-making techniques, taking inspiration from the traditional Swiss Emmental for example. This led to the production of new varieties of cheeses, as well as the refinement of existing varieties, especially Bergkäse (mountain cheese).

Production

Each mountain imparts its special flavour and in the case of Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO, this is no exception. From the milk to the cheese, maintaining high quality standards is paramount. As set by the local dairy association, the milk is supplied from a clearly defined production area. Cheese makers in the region use exclusively untreated cow’s milk, which is heated to a temperature below 40 °C before renneting.

The rind-matured round of Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO weighs 15 to 50 kg. The holes, also referred to the eyes of the cheese, are usually pea-sized and develop in an isolated and sparse manner in the flesh of the cheese. The dry matter content of Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO is 62% and the ripening period for this cheese is 4 months. The cheese’s minimum full fat content is at least 45 to 49 %.

Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO remains inimitable, retaining the mild to very aromatic flavour of the alpine pasture.

More information

Allgäuer Bergkäse PDO – legal specifications

Protected designation of origin

Quality food and drink across Europe