Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Quark Question

While perusing the dairy aisle here in Deutschland, I keep seeing a product called "quark." I've asked my German teachers what the stuff is, but I've never fully understood the answer. "It's like yogurt," one said. "You pour it over fruit," another told me. Uninspired, Quark has remained a low priority on my "to try" list for over six months.

This weekend that all changed. While at a friend’s house for dinner, they set out a bowl of dip. When I complemented them it, I was told that it was not dip, but quark.

After deciding that I like the stuff, I did a little searching around to find out exactly what it is. Quark is a fresh white cheese made from cow’s milk. It has the consistence of sour cream and tastes something like a cross between crème fresh and buttermilk. Quark is relatively low and fat and has live, active cultures, providing similar health benefits as yogurt. Quark is used as a dip or condiment, in desserts, and for baking.

You can find it everywhere in Europe, but is only available on a limited bases in the U.S. (I actually have never seen it in any American grocery stores.) Yogurt cheese is can be used in as a replacement for quark in most recipies.

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