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Obatzda, Beer Garden Favorite, Recipes

The warm weather months in Germany, and especially in Bavaria, mean beer gardens begin to open and, from spring through to the autumn, sitting in their chestnut tree shaded areas, originally planted to cover and keep the underground beer storage cellars cool, is a favorite way to spend warm days and evenings.

As long as you buy a beer or another beverage you can bring your own snacks, just like a picnic. Each beer garden will offer its own local, and invariably homemade, specialty to accompany the beer though; perhaps grilled half a chicken, fish on a stick or pork knuckle.

While in Bavaria there is always Obatzda on offer. A sometimes "pungent" type of mixed cheese blend, usually accompanied by a large pretzel and thinly sliced white or whole red radishes.

All beer gardens, Biergaerten, serve their own slightly different interpretation of Obatzda; although Camembert type of cheese as a base and the "pink" color remains the same, and here are two Obatzda recipes. One comes from a countryside Biergarten by Lake Starnberg, the Five Lakes area 27 kms, 17 miles, outside Munich, and the second from a beer garden that lies alongside the Isar River that flows through the city.

Usually really ripe cheeses are used, which means the cheese ball mixture can be quite strong smelling as well as highly flavored, however less ripe cheese can be used if preferred. And although not the authentic way it is also possible to mix the ingredients with a mixer until they are a fine blend rather than a chunky one.


Ingredients for 8 small portions

100 gr Romadur, which is similar to a Limburger but less pungent, ripe
100 gr Camembert type soft cheese, ripe
100 gr Softened Butter
Salt and Pepper
Red Paprika spice, sweet, hot or both
2 tsp Cumin seeds, or more to taste
2 small Red Onions or 6 Spring Onions, Scallions, with green, chopped very finely


Mix together Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Cumin and chopped Onions
Mash the cheese with a fork and add cream until it is the consistency you prefer.
Add onion and spice mix and combine thoroughly.
The paprika will not only season the mix but also color it red, while the onions will add a crunch.


Ingredients for 10 small portions:

300 gr Camembert type soft cheese, ripe
200 gr Romadur ripe, similar to Limburger but not as pungent
250 g Philadelphia or similar cheese
2 red onions chopped very finely (white or yellow if no red are available)
80 g softened Butter
Salt, Pepper
3 - 4 tsp Cumin seeds to taste
Red Paprika sweet, hot or both


Combine ingredients with a fork, then add enough beer to make a thick cream consistency while pressing the mixture as you work, this forces some of the juices from the onions as well as making sure it is completely blended and tinted red. It can be left chunky or if preferred made relatively smooth.

Decorate with chives or thinly sliced red onion.

Serve with some good farmer's type bread, pretzels, salad or use as a type of dip with veggie sticks etc. And in Germany, whether sitting at home, picnicking in the countryside or in a shaded beer garden, it would be more than likely that the Obatzda would be partnered with a cold beer.


Bavarian Obatzda/Obatzter, photographer Rainer Z, de.Wikipedia

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Exactly like the ones at most Beer Gardens and the Munich Oktoberfest, this is a genuine 1 Liter HB "Hofbrauhaus Munchen" Dimpled Glass Beer Stein
And here you will find the Oktoberfest "Masskrug" or Mass krug with the traditional Hacker-Pschorr logo, 1 Liter Hacker-Pschorr Glass Beer Stein
They are the only two remaining of the original brewers from the days of King Ludwig I.

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