Friday, April 19, 2013

German Cheese

German cheese varieties are sought-after across the globe for their outstanding quality and versatility.   In Germany cheese is called "Käse”, pronounced  "KAY-zeh" and sometimes spelled "Kaese".  Often the word for the type of cheese is followed by the word Käse.  For example, Hand Cheese is often written as "Handkäse".

German cheese:  Something for every taste 

Hard cheeses are extremely popular all over Germany, but nowhere more so than in Bavaria and in the Alpine region of Germany.  The moisture content of German hard cheese is low and often these cheeses are aged for months, often years, giving them an especially long shelf life.  You will notice that the longer the aging; the more pungent the taste and aroma tends to be.  German hard cheeses are a must on a cheese platter.

German Hard Cheese

Semi-soft German cheeses are rich and creamy.  Flavors range from mild and buttery (Camembert is an example) to bold and pungent (Limburger, for example).  These palate-pleasing cheeses can highlight an elaborate multi-course dinner, a humble supper, or a continental breakfast.  They are perfect with fruit & crackers as a snack or they can provide the perfect finish to a meal as a substitute for a sweet dessert.  

Semi-soft cheese is popular in Germany

Hand-cheese (Handkäse or Harzerkäse) and Cook-cheese (Kochkäse) are uniquely German cheeses.  Kochkäse has a distinctive texture and is typically spread on bread.  It is sold in small tubs and in varieties that can include caraway seeds.  Kochkäse tends to settle into the shape of whatever container you place it in.   Handkäse, on the other hand, is not spreadable.  It is a roll of semi-firm cheese, often with a pungent aroma,  that is sliced and put on bread.  Another serving method is to slice the cheese and place it into a marinade of oil, vinegar, onions, and spices.  Once the cheese absorbs some of the marinade it is served with bread on the side and is called “Handkäse mit Musik”.   

Kochkäse & Harzerkäse are German specialty cheeses

Quark is a soft, creamy, and very versatile cheese.  It is often incorporated into baked German-style cheesecake.  It can be whipped or blended with sugar or sweeteners and other ingredients for a variety of sweet pastries or cakes.  However, its slightly tart taste makes Quark a great savory spread with bread or crackers when topped with onions, chives, or scallions and a little paprika.  It makes a delicious sweet dessert when slightly sweetened and then layered with fruit, either fresh or preserved.  Another popular treatment in Germany is to blend Quark with sweet fruit jams, jellies, purees, honey, or sugar beet syrup (Zuckerrübensirup). It's even perfectly acceptable to top a chocolate spread with a little quark as an interesting play off each other..

Savory or sweet versions of Quark are popular in Germany
My company,, features several German cheese varieties.  Warning:  If you take a peek at the cheeses on this link, you might just be tempted to go a little "Käse-crazy". - Inga

(By the way, these mouth-watering photos are the property of  Please don't "borrow" them without written permission of the owner.)


  1. Those cheese pictures look so tasty!

    1. Thanks. Don't you just want to dive into those photos?

  2. Replies
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    2. Nicole, I might be a little biased, but I have to agree!!

  3. I love german cheese. One of my favorite is "Kaess Spaetzle" yum.

    1. Oh yes, Anita. I always feel sorry for people who haven't tried Käse-Spätzle, yet. Once they try it they are almost always hooked! Thanks for commenting a bringing back a rush of happy German cheese memories.

    2. Thanks for commenting and bringing back a rush of happy German cheese memories.