Also, known as obatzter, obazda, obazde or obazd’n, obatzda is a strong cheese spread made with very ripe Camembert, cream cheese, butter, onions, spices and, of course, beer. It’s a classic Bavarian beer garden dish, best enjoyed with a cold stein of Weissbeir or indeed, your own favorite brew.
The creator of the original obatzda recipe was Katharina Eisenreich, the innkeeper of the Bräustüberl Weihenstephan from 1920 -1958. She served it to her guests as a light snack to accompany their morning beer and soon the idea spread, with many beer gardens creating their own special recipes.
The recipe I’m sharing for this week’s Oktoberfest theme is purported to be that original obatzda recipe from the Bräustüberl Weihenstephan. I must confess that I had a certain reluctance to believe that a classic German cheese spread recipe would actually start with a French cheese. So I consulted an American friend who spent time in Germany growing up. Enough time that, in fact, she is now a qualified German teacher. She kindly checked what she called the “German part of the web” and confirmed the recipe.
The Bavarian cheese spread, obatzda, does start with Camembert, the riper the better. The story there goes that it was created to use cheese that was reaching its use by date and was quite strong. Butter was added to make it milder. And to be authentic, obatzda must be mixed or kneaded together by hand. A side note that I found humorous: Apparently Germans call all cream cheese Philadelphia.
- 8 3/4 oz or 250g Camembert cheese
- 1/3 cup or 70g butter
- 5 1/3 oz or 150g cream cheese at room temperature.
- 4 1/4 oz or 120g onions minced, plus extra sliced in rings to serve
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- 7 tablespoons or 100ml Weißbier wheat beer
Cut the Camembert into small pieces with a sharp knife. This is easier when the Camembert is still chilled.
Put it in a large mixing bowl and leave to come to room temperature.
Add butter, cream cheese, chopped onions, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
Use your clean hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients together until you have a homogeneous paste.
Add in the beer and mix again until all the beer is incorporated, using your hands or a wooden spoon.
Cover the bowl with some cling film and refrigerate several hours or even a day or two to give the flavors time to combine.
Serve the obatzda with brown bread or pretzels, slices of raw onion and beer.
Prep time does not include chilling time. This recipe can be made a day or two ahead. Keep refrigerated until serving.