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.

In the 1900s, an enterprising Bavarian cheese-maker by the name of Julius Hirschle studied the techniques of creating Camembert in France. When he returned to Bavaria, he decided to try cultivating this type of cheese using milk from Allgäu cows, or Swiss Brown cows. The result of his experiment was a creamy Camembert with the aroma of mushroom—a flavor-profile that set it apart from other cheeses produced in the Allgäu at the time. So when Hirschle began to sell this cheese, he partnered with Leopold Immler, a cheese merchant, and the two settled on the distinctly named Käserei Champignon. Today, the name now represents more than just the flavor of the original cheese, but a mark of quality cheese.