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Tilsit is the name of a light yellow colored cheese which is semi hard in consistency. Also known as the Tisiter cheese, it was originally produced by the Swiss-Prussian settlers. The smear ripened cheese had been modified along with time due to the influences of different bacteria, molds and yeasts.

The name of the town settled by the cheese makers also gave the medium textured cheese its name. The cheese contains a number of irregular holes or perforation and has a dark, yellow colored rind. Pasteurized cow’s milk is used during the commercial production of the cheese. Available in both plain and flavored varieties, the cheese can be paired with a number of foods. It also goes well with dark beer.

It is also used as a table cheese and has been manufactured in Switzerland since the late nineteenth century after the recipe had been imported there.

History of the Cheese

The cheese had been originally created by the Westphal family who settled in the Prussian town of Tilsit after having moved from the Emmental valley. The town has since been renamed as Sovetsk and is situated on the Neman River flowing through East Prussia.

The nature of the cheese became intense and flavorful on account of the humid climate of the new town along with the resultant action of various microorganisms on the cheese.

Varieties of Tilsit Cheese

The commercially available varieties of the cheese are:-

  • Green Label- Produced from pasteurized cow milk.
  • Red Label- Made from fresh milk that does not undergo the pasteurization process. This variety has a strong flavor.
  • Rahm-Tilsiter or Yellow Label-Produced by using pasteurized milk along with extra cream.
  • Flavored- The cheese is also available in pepper and caraway flavors.

Popular Cheese Recipes

The cheese is best eaten when it has been aged for about 180 days. It melts well and can be eaten as a table cheese apart from being used in salads, fondues and sauces.

  • Potato – It can be served as a melted topping for baked potatoes or cubed and added to the potato salad.
  • Flans- Used as a filling in savory flans.
  • Burgers- Used as the primary ingredient in special cheese burgers.

Tisiter Buying/Storing Tips

The cheese is available in almost all stores selling gourmet products. Online stores also offer good bargains when it comes to the Tilsit.

Traditionally the cheese had been available in the form of large wheels but are now being wrapped and sold in the shape of a loaf measuring 1 pound or 8 ounce in weight.

The cheese is best stored in the refrigerator as it becomes soft at room temperature. It can withstand medium temperatures during cooking.

Nutritive Value of the Cheese

The cheese contains 96 calories per one ounce with 7.37% being obtained from fat, 6.56% from protein and the remaining 0.53% from carbohydrate. It is particularly rich in calcium with traces of Vitamin A and Vitamin B1 being present in it as well.


It is commonly believed that the Dutch immigrants accidentally created the Tilsit while attempting to make Gouda cheese.