Bavarian Bergkase (Bawarii Bergkäse), also known as Allgauer Bergkase is a hard mountain cheese and the only "PDO" (Protected Designation of Origin) cheese from Germany. It is also famous as the smaller brother of the popular Allgauer Emmentaler. As required by PDO regulations, Allgauer Bergkase is a handmade, artisanal cheese made from raw, silage free milk of cows grazing in the Allgäu Mountains of southwest Germany.
The traditional cheese-making process in copper vats, one wheel at the time, produces a firm artisanal cheese that has a spicy flavour and characteristically strong aroma. Longer the ripening time of the cheese (at least 4 months) the more intense the flavour. A whole wheel weighing an average of 60 pounds can be identified by a dark yellow to the brown rind. Wedges of Bergkase will display a flexible but firm pate, light yellow in colour with random pea-sized holes scattered throughout. A cross between Emmental, Appenzeller and Allgauer Bergkase is a high-fat cheese with 62% fat and is mainly consumed in slices, sandwiches, salads and casseroles.