Liptauer: A Simple Cheese Spread With a Big History
When we first began pouring samples of our Central European wines 15 years ago, we wanted to provide an authentic Austrian heuriger (farm winery) experience for our guests.
So, on our long, rustic tables in our farmhouse, we put out plates of sliced vegetables, dense rye bread and our housemade Liptauer – a spreadable cheese very popular in households, restaurants and wine bars throughout Central Europe, where most families have their own recipe. Ours was uniquely ours, though, revealing our Austrian-Hungarian roots.
Very quickly – and very often – something interesting happened. Although most of our guests had never heard of Liptauer, after one bite, they were in love. Frequently, we heard, “You know, your wine is excellent, but this cheese is awesome. Can we buy it?”
After hearing this for 10 years, we finally decided it was time to get a food production license, scale up the recipe 50x, and package it for sale by Mount Salem Kitchen. Of our line of Central European-influenced food products, it has undoubtably remained our most popular item.
Delicious family memories
However, even though Liptauer was a new item to Mount Salem Kitchen at the time – and certainly a new item to the New Jersey area – the origins of our recipe goes back much further. At least 60 years, in fact.
As a child, my family and I would visit my grandparents’ nearby house in Summit weekly, if not more. Those visits congregated around the kitchen, which was always filled with Old World flavors and aromas. To me, all of that culminated in a delicious cheese spread – a perfect cocktail-hour snack that, as a young boy, was perfect for indulging in as my parents and grandparents sipped their favorite wines.
Most Austrian families have their own Liptauer recipe – or today, perhaps, a favorite brand they buy from a store. For them, it’s a deeply personal dining room table staple that varies from home to home, not only in proportion of ingredients – more or less paprika, for example – but also the ingredients themselves.
But the basics? One creamy cheese; minced onion or shallot; and paprika. After that, it gets very creative.
I’m sure that my family’s recipe was adapted following their move to the United States, dependent on what ingredients were locally available. But it remained what it should be – pungent yet soothing, demanding yet elegant. Now, we’re proud to share it with you at Mount Salem Kitchen.
We love nothing more than to have someone say that our Liptauer is “almost as good as my mother’s.” So how does it stack up to yours? Give it a try by clicking here and let us know.