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While Mexico has its guacamole and other various salsas like pico de gallo, Greece its cool and creamy tzatziki, and Spain its mojo verde, Bavaria has its very own kind of famous dip.
This is a classic and traditional delicacy, often served as a light snack in between meals. It is a savory, creamy cheese dip that is usually eaten with a slice of dark rye bread or pretzels – and ideally with a cold beer.
Originally, this dish was developed to use up leftover cheese. To do this, the mature cheese was mixed with butter and spices.
This basic recipe hasn’t changed a lot, though Obatzda is not often thought of as a mere way to use up leftover food today.
Since the 1920s, it has become known as a beloved snack in German beer gardens, outdoor terraces in restaurants or cafés that serve drinks and small meals during the day.
It has achieved such a symbolic value that it gained certification as a product with protected geographical indication (PGI) by the EU in 2015.
Don’t worry if you think the taste of the Camembert might be too strong for a dip like this one. When it’s mixed with soft, fresh cheese like crème fraîche and butter, the strong and mature flavor will become more subdued, contributing to the flavor profile of the dish nonetheless.
Obatzda should be eaten on the same day that you make it, because the onions can start to infuse the spread with a bitter flavor. If you want to make your dip in advance, you can add the onions as a garnish just before serving rather than stirring them in during prep.
Another idea is to rinse or steam the onions before using them, which will provide a milder taste. Be sure to drain the onions well in a colander before adding them if you’re using this method, because any extra moisture can lead to runny results.
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep Onions
Peel your onions, then chop fine. Rinse them if you’d like to mellow the taste a bit, drain, then set aside.
Step 2 – Mash and Mix
There’s no need to remove the soft white rind from your Camembert. Simply place the wheel into a small bowl and mash it wish a fork, or using your hands if you wish. This is easier to do if the cheese is closer to room temperature, but allowing it to warm up isn’t required.
Add the cream cheese and butter (also much easier to work at room temperature) along with the onion.
Resist the urge to use the food processor for this step- though it’s a great tool for blending various ingredients together, you want to have full control over the texture of this dip. Using an appliance will begin to heat up your dairy products too, and you don’t want them to melt.
Combining your ingredients by hand with a large spoon or rubber spatula is your best bet here. Stir together until the ingredients are well combined, and the onions is evenly distributed.
Step 3 – Season and Refrigerate
Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika to taste. Give it one more stir, cover or scoop into a lidded container, and refrigerate to allow the flavors to meld, for about half an hour.
Step 4 – Garnish and Serve
Just before serving, taste for seasoning once more, give the mix one last stir, and garnish with chopped chives.
For the perfect Bavarian snack experience, spread it on homemade lye pretzels or dark rye bread. To make it a meal, serve alongside your favorite Oktoberfest beer, cabbage slaw with bacon, bread dumplings, spaetzle, or any of your German-style favorites.
How will you enjoy this tasty homemade dip? Let us know in the comments!
Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
About Nina-Kristin Isensee
Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.