Obatzda! And Cheap Bubbly. Berlin, Germany.
I have no idea how I’d never heard of Obatzda. The two main ingredients are cheese and butter. Butter and Cheese! This was so delicious with a big old pretzel and some bubbly for New Year ringing in – creamy and cheesy and possibly a little mild for my taste. So, I looked it up.
Also known as German Beer Cheese or Gerupfter (in the Franconian region), it gets its name from Obatzter, which, when translated in the Bavarian dialect means mixed or pressed. It’s Bavarian biergarten fare. Quite interesting. Apparently it was useful for using up ripe cheese that had been ripe a bit too long. Makes sense to me – strong salty nibbles increase beer sales. Another theory is that expensive cheese was made to go further with presumably cheap butter. I guess butter comes cheap in Bavaria. Or Munich. Will have to check out a grocery store to verify.
Ingredient-wise, the three constants I found were really ripe camembert cheese, butter, and beer. I suspect person pulling the pints would have used the last dregs of the keg. Minced onion, salt and pepper, and lots of paprika showed up in almost all the recipes. Most added a bit of cumin, some smoothed with cream cheese, and some insisted smoked paprika over sweet, spicy things, or caraway seeds. Many garnished with scallions. After reading various recipes, I concluded that the hotel restaurant version I’d enjoyed was rather bland. I suppose that’s to be expected in a place of many palates.
Now I’ve got a variety of recipes to try out when I’m home. I anticipate more pungency. Bit of a quandary though – Dave doesn’t like the smell of strong cheese. And do I really want to do that to my campus neighbors? Possibly if I share?
The pretzel was yum. Perfect texture and tasted freshly baked. I think they used a touch of rye flour in the mix.
Sekt Extra Trocken – extra dry bubbly wine, came in a bottle labeled with the hotel brand. That’d often be a bad sign at home. But hey, I’m in Europe. Even the cheap wine isn’t half bad.
And really, lovely nibbles to see in the New Year. Here’s to 2022, y’all!