If you have a German in your life you may know that Germans have a very intense relationship with bread. We love bread. There are over 3000 different types of bread listed in the German bread register. We have a “bread culture”, an institute for bread and our dinner is literally called evening bread (which is usually what it contains of, bread with stuff on top of it).

Which leads to the crucial part. We not only love bread, we love stuff that we can put on bread. And here is the problem, as a German in Ireland finding your favourite spreads is nearly impossible. My local Tesco carries six types of cream cheese which might sound like it’s a lot. It’s not.

Selection of cream cheese in a German supermarket, there are usually also extra spaces for special offers outside of these cooler units. Photo: Katharina Laumann

My local supermarket back in Germany carries about 50 different types of cream cheese spreads. Is this ridiculous? Absolutely. Do I still want my fix of cream cheese spreads? Yes, no doubt.

So here are two of my family’s recipes* for German cream cheese based spreads or dips for the German in your life or for those of you who want to try out something new:

Spundekäs:

Spundekäs (left) is usually served with pretzels. It’s texture is softer compared to that of Obazda. Photo: Katharina Laumann

You Need:

  • 200g of butter (our’s is usually unsalted, so use less salt later on if your’s is salted)
  • 600g plain creme cheese
  • 500g quark cheese
  • 1 cup whipping cream 1 small to medium sized onion
  • Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Smoked Hot Paprika

Steps:

  • Let the butter soften at room temperature.
  • Whip the cream Mix butter, creme cheese, and quark cheese.
  • Fold in your whipped cream.
  • Slice up your onion into small cubes and mix it in, as well.
  • Season to taste and let it sit for about 1 hour.
  • It might separate into solid and liquid parts a bit, so just mix again before serving.
  • If you want to make it look pretty, sprinkle with smoked paprika and chives before serving.

Obazda:

Obazda (left) has a stronger flavour and is less creamy than Spundekäs. Photo: Katharina Laumann

You Need:

  • ½ camembert or a similar cheese but nothing with mold bits inside the creamy part
  • 1 pack of plain cream cheese
  • a bit of butter (1-3 tablespoons for texture)
  • 1-2 onions
  • parsley or chives, chopped up, for decorating
  • pepper, salt, smoked paprika
  • a bit of beer (you can use whatever you like, traditionally it‘s a type of lager)

Steps:

  • slice up your onions into small cubes
  • Mix your cheeses and butter together, a fork is best to break up the camembert.
  • Mix in the onion and your spices
  • The beer is added to taste. I‘d say go tablespoon wise until you think it’s enough
  • Again, let this rest a bit before serving.

Spundekäs is a typical dish in Mainz and the region of Rheinhessen (that’s where the wine comes from). It is served with pretzels or crackers or spread on sourdough bread. If you want to make a German cry, serve it with toast (I’m kidding, you can put this on toast and it will be delicious but it just feels slightly wrong).

Enjoy this with a glass of white wine, or if you want to go slightly less authentic and get the Frankfurt experience hunt down the sourest cider you can find and drink that (but don’t blame me if an angry wine-grower from Rheinhessen yells at you for skipping the wine).

Obazda is a Bavarian dish. It is so Bavarian that EU regulations ban you from calling it Obazda if it wasn’t made in Bavaria or doesn’t contain at least one ingredient that was produced in Bavaria. So technically, you might make an Obazda-style dish.

This is one of those typical Biergarten meals. Serve this with soft pretzels or sourdough bread. Authentic drinks include beer, beer mixed with lemonade (Radler) or orange lemonade mixed with cola (Spezi).

*These are my family’s recipes. There are a ton of other recipes out there and they might do things slightly differently.