Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Your Face, Second Place!

I did it. I finally won a contest … Like, first place won! Our friends, Missy and Kelly, hosted the second annual Taps 'n' Apps Challenge (beer and appetizer pairing) and Morgan and I took home the big prize!

You may recall last year’s string of second-place finishes; gougeres (from the first Taps 'n' Apps Challenge), crabaroni and cheese, and caprese burgers. Frankly, it was getting a little ridiculous and to that streak, I say good riddance.

When we were driving home from the party, Morgan said, “Honey, I know what it is … the key to winning is inspiration. We just need to continually be inspired.”

After I almost spit out my coffee upon realizing that I’m married to Joe Paterno, I decided he was right. All we needed to do was travel halfway across the world to find and “experience” a first-place worthy recipe.

Our friend Natalie first introduced us to Obatzda in Munich this summer. It’s a super decadent cheese spread, very popular in Bavaria, served with big soft pretzels at all the beer gardens. While we were gobbling it down in Hofbräuhaus München, we were actually chatting about this party and hoping Missy and Kelly would host round two, knowing (or at least really, really hoping) we had found a winner.

Now, even just reading the ingredient list might give you a mild heart attack, but don’t freak out. It’s not “everyday” food and if you’re already chugging beer, who’s counting calories? So mash up your cheese, butter and beer, and go to town. My friend Emily pointed out that it’s perfect football food, and I totally agree. Our other piece of luck — aside from finding the inspiration — came in the form of living close to the best grocery store in the world, Central Market. Special props to their beer buyer, a very wise man who chose to import Hofbräu hefeweizen. When I saw it on the shelf, I suddenly heard angels singing and knew God was smiling on us. I think our outfits helped the cause, too.

We did have some serious competition (you can read all about it here), especially the mini carne asada, green chili, spicy caramelized onion and feta paninis — my personal favorite — and the tough game made the win that much sweeter. The paninis won best stand-alone appetizer, the other category, and rightfully so. Droooool. Missy also whipped up some terrific pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. So cute!
So without further ado, I give you Obatzda, which we paired with the oh-so-great Hofrbräu hefeweizen. I recommend using a food scale to make Obatzda, since I don't have the volume measurements. It's truly a "to taste" mixture. This is as accurate as I can come to what we entered. It's a lot of adding, tasting, mixing, adding some more, etc. ...

Pair this with Hofrbräu hefeweizen for a true winning combination.


  • 500g ripe Camembert (Cambozola is the commonly-found imported Bavarian Camembert)
  • 40g soft butter
  • 200g cream cheese (e.g., Philadelphia)
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • Salt, black pepper to taste (Cambozola is already super salty, but some American Camembert needs extra salt)
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp. sweet paprika
  • 6-8 Tbsp. wheat beer (or to taste)
  • Caraway seeds
  • Soft pretzels for serving (in Munich, they always serve Obatzda with thinly sliced red onion rounds, too, but I wasn’t sure how to eat them)
Let the butter and cheese come to room temperature, mash the first seven ingredients together and top with caraway seeds. Best if it rests for a day in the fridge so the flavors can meld.


Jenny said...

That looks pretty grubbin! That party looks so fun, having read about it on 3 blogs now! I almost feel like I attended!

Good to see you back up and blogging again!

Missy said...

I think that's a good observation on Morgan's part. You better make an int'l trip every year just before Taps 'n' Apps. Loved the spread, well-deserved win!

Kim said...

In your face, second place? I see you accepted your win with the utmost grace. Congrats!

Emily said...

Mmmm, it was the best! Can't wait for next years inspiration!

Christian said...

I think we need to do a recount. I heard some of the voters in some precincts weren't allowed to vote.