A popular Camembert-based cheese spread with sweet paprika Bavarians serve with fresh Brezeln (Pretzel) called Obatzda. This German Cheese Spread is the perfect sidekick to a lovely Oktoberfest party! Prost!
Obatzda, a popular German Cheese Spread enjoyed alongside fresh Brezel (pretzel) in Bavarian Biergartens, is a creamy orange dip with a delightful flavour. This delectable spread is primarily made with camembert cheese, complemented by butter and quark (fresh cheese) or cottage cheese. The vibrant orange hue is achieved by incorporating sweet paprika powder. A few additional caraway seeds and a splash of beer can be added for an authentic Bavarian-style Obatzda. Over time, numerous variations of this spread have emerged, featuring ingredients such as horseradish, garlic, chives, cloves, and Romadur cheese.
This particular version is my personal favourite; the traditional Obatzda with Quark (fresh cheese) and caraway seeds. However, if Quark is not readily available in your region, cottage cheese can be used as a suitable substitute.
The technique for preparing Obatzda is delightfully simple, requiring only your arm and a fork, although using a potato masher can expedite the process. The goal is to achieve a pleasingly dense texture that isn’t overly smooth. It should be thick enough to mould into the traditional ball shape. It’s unnecessary to mash everything to perfect homogeneity; we enjoy having small pieces of white cheese scattered throughout for added texture.
*If you’d like to try making fresh Brezel (Pretzel) from scratch, here’s my recipe
However, if you find yourself pressed for time, small dry pretzels (chips-style) pair wonderfully with the Obatzda spread, as would croutons or breadsticks. Some recipes suggest removing the crust of the camembert cheese, while others don’t. Personally, I believe the crust contributes a great deal of flavour, so I recommend keeping it. However, it’s ultimately a matter of preference.
The camembert could easily be replaced by a Brie or partially with a Romadur cheese. This last one I’ve tasted and loved it, but it is quite difficult to get your hands on. Romadur already has an orange crust and tastes bolder. So if you want to experiment with it, add just 1/3 Romadur and 2/3 Camembert to prevent overpowering the dip.
As mentioned earlier, the typical orange colour of Obatzda is due to paprika powder… I’ve used an equal part of sweet paprika and spicy paprika. This step is totally up to you; they usually use only the sweet type, but make sure there is enough to colour the spread orange. Also, the traditional Bavarian style Obatzda contains caraway seeds, again… not in everyone’s pantry, so it’s up to you.
Indeed, the final touch of raw onions or chives is crucial to complete the Obatzda experience. Raw red onions are commonly used and add a distinctive flavour profile. While this ingredient may seem unusual to some, it is an integral part of a delicious Obatzda. Germans are fond of raw onions, and their inclusion enhances the overall taste. To ensure the onions are tender, it’s recommended to thinly slice them and sprinkle a touch of salt to soften them up.
Preparing this spread is remarkably simple, yet it delivers a taste that is truly exceptional. I can assure you that everyone at your next party will be clamouring for the recipe for this delightful orange dip.
German cheese spread
- 250 g Camembert ((a small wheel))
- 150 g Quark (or Ricotta cheese)
- 60 g butter (unsalted)
- 1 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1/2 tbsp spicy or smoky paprika (optional)
- 1/2 tbsp caraway seeds (optional)
- Add all the ingredients in a plate and mash with a fork or potato masher until almost homogeneous.
- Let the flavours set in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.
- Cut the onion finely and/or chives, add some salt to the onions and serve with the Obatzda.