Sometimes when you’ve seen a brand in the market forever, you wonder if it’s too old school to be worthy of a spot on your cheese board. Well, if that’s what you’re thinking about Champignon, snap out of it. This small, century-old, family-run Bavarian cooperative has been on trend, in both the culinary and social senses, since day one.
In classic German tradition Champignon has always been meticulous about crafting cheese the right way. And at the same time, they’ve been supporting small family farms within a 100-mile radius of their headquarters—since way before that kind of local focus became a popular concept. They know their farmers. They know their farmers’ kids.
Some of the farms they work with don’t have more than a couple of cows. But to Champignon, good milk is good milk, and that’s where good cheese always begins. They’d rather get rich, sweet, full-flavored milk from a two-cow operation in their own community than mediocre milk from a bigger farm somewhere else.
“These are people who don’t rush things,” says Shauna Howell, our Director of Culinary Services. “They know what it takes to make truly great cheese, and they do it perfectly. They just really care.”
You can taste that care in every flavor-rich bite of Champignon’s award-winning cheeses. You can tell that it’s had all the time it needed to reach full maturity, naturally. And you know all that flavor comes from skillful cheesemaking, because Champignon cheeses contain no additives or flavorings. From their buttery, silky triple cream blue cheese (which Shauna describes as lifechanging) to their nutty, hole-riddled Illertaler (the Bavarian version of a Swiss cheese) to the spicy, creamy rougette range—named after the red cultures that have been at the source of this legendary cheese for generations.
But top brass at Champignon isn’t just dedicated to their cheese and their farmers. They care about you, too. In fact, the president of the company often brainstorms with Shauna about how they can bring us the Bavarian cheeses that are best suited to our local tastes, at the best prices for our customers. Before COVID, he would fly over here a couple of times a year, to have that constantly evolving conversation in person. Sometimes he’d even wear lederhosen. Why does such a long-established company go to those lengths for us? Shauna puts it this way:
“They want to do what’s right. For the best cheeses, but also for people, and communities, and sustainability. And they always have. They’re the real deal.”