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There is a strong Slovakian and Hungarian influence in the foods of Eastern Austria.  A popular spread that you can find everywhere in the areas around Vienna is Liptauer.  It is named for the Lipto region of Slovakia.  Did you know that the capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is less than an hour’s drive from Vienna?

Liptauer is one of several spreads that are pretty much always served at the many Heurigen in the region.  A Heuriger is a wine “tavern” where a winemaker can serve house wine from the most recent harvest.  Going to the Heuriger is a typically Eastern Austrian thing to do and something that shouldn’t be missed if you find yourself in that part of the world.

At the Heuriger, you’ll eat simple but delicious homemade foods like roast pork with freshly grated horseradish, various spreads, dark bread, tomatoes and radishes from the garden.  If you’re lucky, you’ll sit on a bench outside, amongst the vines, while your kids play with new friends on the swings.

Now that the nice weather is finally upon us, here is my recipe for Liptauer.  If your Viennese vacation isn’t imminent, at least you can whip up a batch and enjoy in the backyard or on the balcony.  Don’t forget to add a crisp glass of young wine.

The main ingredient...

The main ingredient…

The Topfen is wet and may come wrapped in paper

The Topfen is wet and may come wrapped in paper

A note on the main ingredient: Topfen.  In North America, that can be translated as Quark, Farmer’s Cheese, Pressed Cottage Cheese, Farmer’s Cottage Cheese or other similar names.  You will find this product in the dairy refrigerator of some grocery stores.  The quantity doesn’t matter, just remember that you want a roughly 3:5 ratio of butter to Topfen.  Handily, most packages of Topfen are 250 g.

LIPTAUERAUFSTRICH

  • 150 g butter, softened
  • 250 g Topfen
  • A bit of sour cream or cream if needed
  • A bit of mustard
  • A lot of sweet paprika
  • Caraway seeds
  • Chopped capers
  • Chopped dill pickles
  • A bit of chopped dry shallot
  • A bit of minced garlic
  • Salt and Pepper

Whip together butter and Topfen.  If the mixture is too dry or difficult to spread add a little sour cream or cream.  Now begin seasoning: stir in the rest of the ingredients and taste.  The spread should be orangey-pink with little bits of stuff in it.  Spread on dark bread and enjoy!

Chopped dill pickles, dry shallot, capers

Chopped dill pickles, dry shallot, capers

Lastborn mixes by hand (sometimes literally)

Lastborn mixes by hand (sometimes literally)

Seeded crackers with radishes and Liptauer

Seeded crackers with radishes and Liptauer