Obatzda is a strongly flavored cheese dip or spread.
What is Obatzda?
Obatzda is a dip or bread spread prepared with aged cheese such as Camembert, Romadur, Limburger or Bree, Topfen/Cream and other flavoring ingredients.
The flavoring includes finely chopped onions, salt, pepper, caraway seeds and some paprika to add color.
The Obatzda recipe itself has been existing since camembert was a thing and the norman french cheese variety made an entrance in Bavaria (South Germany) and West Austria.
The problem was back then that the cheese would get soft in the heat, and so to not throw away the molten cheese, the inns would turn the cheese into a dip.
Obatzda itself is supposed to mean a mixed up dollop of food.
It comes from our dialect in the area and the word o botzen, which means to slip off/wipe off.
The name, Obatzda has been registered and protected legally through its geographic origin.
That means if someone wants to use the name in their menu card to serve it to their guests, they can obtain a paid license, which gives them the right to serve this dish under this name.
This has resulted that some establishments choose to keep the dish in their menu but under a similar name such as smashed cheese dip, bavarian dip or camembert dip etc.
How to serve the Obatzda?
The Obatzda gained fame together with the Beergadens in Munich.
Especially due to the fact that the Oktoberfest turned into a global harvest festival.
The Beergardens, such as Paulina, would produce their own beer and they are the ones who drive the Oktoberfest with their beer tents, so naturally, the food from the beer gardens had to be served at the Oktoberfest as well.
Otherwise, locals prepare their own obatzda and you will also see this dip/spread being served in the Mountain Alms in Bavaria near the Austrian border and the Western parts of Austria in the Alps.
The best way to enjoy the Obatzda is with what we call a Brezn (Pretzel Bread).
The salty Pretzel is dipped into the sharp cheesy spread while enjoyed with a cold beer.
You can also use the obatzda as a bread spread.
We like to spread it over Black Bread, Kaisersemmel rolls or Sunflower seed buns.
Besides Pretzel and a Beer you can enjoy the obatzda as a dip with:
- sharp red garden radish
- Soletti sticks or salted crackers
The Garnish for the Obatzda is usually raw onion rings and fresh cut chives.
The sharpness of the ingredients compliments the strong cheesy and creamy dip.
The Cheese is the most important ingredient to prepare an obatzda dip!
Usually, people use camembert but I personally enjoy mine to with a strong flavored Brie cheese.
You also have the option of using lesser known Romadur or Limburger.
To make the dip creamy, a fresh cheese or a fatty cream is used.
Our local fresh cheese in South Germany and Austria is known as Topfen, the rest of Germany and the world calls it Quark.
Both are the same thing, curdled fresh thick cheese.
If fresh Topfen/Quark is not available, the cream is used with butter.
The Topfen Quark version of the Obatzda is actually a modern version.
The original recipes would use butter and maybe cream.
Topfen is popular because it's less heavy and lightens the dip.
I used Butter and Cream in my recipe because these are commonly available ingredients yet feel free to combine the amount of both (by measuring) and substitute with fresh thick drained Topfen/Quark.
That way you can make a light obatzda version!
Onions are chopped fine and added to the dip, besides serving more onions as a garnish over the cheese dip.
The obatzda is flavored with Paprika powder, Salt, Black Pepper and Caraway Seeds.
These are all classic flavors of central Europe.
More Recipes from the Region:
Dear Reader, where did you learn about the obatzda dip for the first time?
Obatzda Recipe - Bavarian Cheese Dip
For the dip:
- Chop your onion fine and keep aside.
- With a fork mash your Camembert Cheese. It's easier when the cheese is soft and left out of the fridge.
- In a bowl add the soft butter and mix it. Add and mix in the cream as well as the camembert cheese.
- Then season with the salt, pepper and paprika powder.
- Mix the whole dip well.
- Refrigerate until next use. You can keep the obatzda up to 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
- Garnish with caraway seeds, paprika powder, fresh chopped chives and onion rings.