Last weekend Gustav and I went to Munich, capital of Bavaria and herewith of the region the Obazda was granted PGI certification in 2015.
Ok, Obazda is not a cheese of classical termination but more so a conglomerate of cheeses such as Camembert, Brie, Romadur or Limburger , some non-lactic ingredients and – to make it just a hint more delicious – butter.
For the Bavarian soul though it is the true Bavarian cheese, to be eaten stand-alone or accompanied by a delicious “Bretzn” (Pretzl). And since in Bavaria a meal is only half a meal without beer, another close buddy of Obazda is a Mass Bier (1liter of beer).
The history of Obazda or Obatzter– a name, which, if even translatable, means “something pressed while making a mess” ,dates back to the time when Camembert and Brie were started to be produced in Bavaria and the famous bavarian beergardens set foot on earth – both of which happened about 150 years ago.
As a result the introduction of the new cheeses right away led to the alteration of a noble Camembert or Brie into the wild and messy Obazda as we know it now.
To take out the sharpness, the ripe, stinky Camembert was torn into pieces and mixed with other, more calming ingredients such as paprika, onions or garlic, butter, milk and – since being a Bavarian invention – naturally some beer.
Naturally, as with every magic, there are multiple stories and legends around its history. In the case of Bavaria´s signature cheese it is that its history is not as old as the invention of the beergardens.
Katharina Eisenreich, chef and owner of the beergarden in Weihenstephan – the oldest brewery in the world – is said to have invented it in the 1920ies, either for workers who got paid natural produce instead of money and asked her for help with what to do with the gooey smell ball, or – maybe more likely – that she herself sought for a method to still use left-over Camembert.
No matter who in the end was responsible for the creation of this Bavarian deliciousness, we say “chapeau” and joyfully gig around the various beergardens spotted over the Bavarian landscape in search for THE BEST one.
In 2006 the Bavarian Dairy Association took the Obazda to the European Commission and demanded the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) status which, after some quarrels, succeeded in 2015.
Since then an Obazda or Obatzter is only allowed to be named by its name when produced within Bavaria.
Mandatory ingredients include:
- Camembert and/or Brie plus a possible addition of Romadur, Limburger or cream cheese
- Paprikapowder and/or Paprikaextract
Ingredients may also be:
Onions, caraway, other spices or herbs (e.g. pepper, chive, garlic, or more exotic- cumin and ginger), cream, milk and beer.
At least 40% has to be Camembert and/or Brie and the total amount of cheese has to be at least 50%.
Doesn´t sound too hard, does it?
So why not have a little Bavarian party for your friends and serve them your own creation of Obazda.
Try it out – it´s fun to make and a really delicious snack!
But be careful– if you didn´t make him on Bavarian soil you are not allowed to call him openly by his name. Maybe better whisper -some Bavarian might be around the corner, confiscate it in the name of violation of the law and happily trot off.