Monday, August 9, 2010

Obatzda Part 2

I wrote last week about this traditional Bavarian beer garden dish I had on my last night in Berlin called Obatzda - the spelling of which, like the recipe, no one seems to agree on.

From all I've read Obatzda is a cheese dip that was made up as a way to use left overs. What you have is basically Camembert and butter, sometimes other cheeses are called for, often local German cheeses I've never heard of or cream cheese. Onions seem to play some part either mixed in or served on top as an edible garnish. Ditto radishes. Some recipes even call for beer. As for spices, I've seen everything from Caraway to Cumin, but Paprika is the one consistent. Cumin seems like not a bad idea, but not terribly German, whereas Caraway makes perfect sense to me as it is, from what I can tell, Germany's favorite spice, whenever a culinary opportunity presents itself add Caraway. Which is just fine by me as I love the stuff.

I came across this recipe which I want to share with you in part because I think it's funny. First off it calls for cream cheese, which just seems so American, but Wikipedia tells me that there are references to cream cheese as far back as 1651 (probably referring to Neufchâtel). The first American version was made in 1872 - a creation made of a failed attempt to make Neufchâtel.
Anyway it seems to me that Neufchâtel or Marscapone would be a better choice than cream cheese, unless of course you're able to get your hands on some Russ and Daughters cream cheese which is so beyond cream cheese it deserves another name. In the end I think cream cheese is just a distraction from the butter and Camembert at the clogged heart of this delicious dip.

Maybe it's just me, but isn't it odd to go to the bother of publishing a recipe (which takes about 2 minutes to make) and then at the end of it say:

If you don't have the time
it's available to purchase ready-made for those in a hurry.


The recipe comes under the category of Vegetarian dishes, big bold letters.

Yeah this is just like a salad . There are vegan's having nightmares about this dish as I write.

Anyway, if you haven't already noticed this is my latest food obsession. I want to make homemade pretzels and Obatzda for an upcoming dinner party, so this is all part of my research.

I think it would be great served with deviled eggs, pickles and a selection of crudités.

Next up pretzel recipes!

Vegetarian dishes

"Obatzda", Landesvereinigung der Bayerischen Milchwirtschaft
© Landesvereinigung der Bayerischen Milchwirtschaft

Delicious recipe for a Bavarian beer garden classic: "Obatzda"

Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 500g ripe Camembert
  • 40g soft butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 80g finely chopped onions
  • Salt, pepper
  • Paprika, caraway
  • 2 desert spoons of chopped chives
  • 60g finely sliced onion rings
  • 6-8 desert spoons of beer to taste


Mash the Camembert with a fork and add the butter, cream cheese and onions. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and caraway to taste. Add beer gradually and stir.

Spoon a portion of Obatzda onto each plate and garnish with onion rings, chives and caraway. Serve preferably with rye bread, wholemeal bread and radishes.

Obatzda is available to purchase ready-made for those in a hurry.

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