Obatzda - Home-Made Spiced Cheese Spread from Bavaria, Germany
A classic biergarten food, obatzda, also spelled obatzter and obazda, combines a few simple ingredients to create a brightly colored cheese spread with surprisingly complex flavor. Typical accompaniments for obatzda are Bavarian pretzels, rye bread, rounds of red radish or spiral-cut white radish. While our favorite thing to serve obatzda with is freshly-baked soft pretzel, crunchy bread rolls make a nice substitute.
- 1lb ripe camembert cheese, rind removed and roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
- ¾ cup of mascarpone (or cream cheese)
- 1⁄3 cup onion, finely chopped, plus finely sliced onion rings for garnish - rinsed in cold water and dried
- 1 - 2 teaspoons of paprika, sweet, hot or a combination of the two depending on your preference
- ½ teaspoon caraway seeds (optional)
- 4-8 tablespoons of dark German beer or wheat beer
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of chives, finely chopped (optional)
- Using a fork or a potato masher, combine the camembert, mascarpone and butter in a medium bowl until well mixed, allowing some chunks of cheese to remain.
- Mix in the finely chopped onions, paprika, caraway, salt and pepper. If you are not sure of how much paprika you want to use, add ½ a teaspoon at a time, testing for flavor and keeping in mind that the flavor will develop a bit as the ingredients have a chance to meld.
- Add in the beer, starting with 4 tablespoons, mixing well. Keep adding beer until you reach a good consistency, the mix should be easy to spread onto or scoop up with a pretzel but not be wet or runny. Taste as you add the beer to check that you like the flavor balance as well.
- Cover with plastic wrap or transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, take the obatzda out and taste for seasoning, making adjustments as necessary.
- Once you have adjusted the seasoning, let the obatzda sit for 30 minutes to reach room temperature and serve garnished with sliced onions, topped with chives and a little extra paprika. Enjoy with rye bread, salted pretzels, bread rolls, radishes or anything else that appeals to you.
Before you begin making the obatzda, take the mascarpone and butter out of the refrigerator and allow to soften at room temperature to make them easier to mix in. If you don't love the taste of raw onions, we suggest soaking them for while before adding them gradually to the mix. You can leave the raw onion out all together, but it will alter the final flavor of the obatzda. For the paprika, it's best to use Hungarian paprika. We love Spanish paprika but its use in this recipe will impart an untraditional smoky flavor. If you can not find Hungarian paprika, substitute another non-smoked paprika.