help me remember this soft cheese from Chicago
- Chowpatty Aug 3, 2004 07:26 PM
My mother used to bring back the most heavenly cheese from trips to Chicago. I'm pretty sure she said she got it at either a Polish or Greek market. It basically tasted of butter but was lighter and fluffier and completely addictive on warm French bread. It came in a container with a lid and was quite soft. Does anybody know what this could be? I'm not sure what nationality of market to look in. I can't remember the name at all, but I might recognize the name if I saw it.
Is it Quark? Found this def. on Google:
Quark is a German word that simply means curds. This cows milk cheese, produced all over Central Europe, is virtually identical to Fromage Blanc, but with a slightly higher fat content. Quark is eaten like yogurt, blended with fruit. It is also a common ingredient used in European pastries, savory and sweet sauces, spreads and soufflés. Quark is so popular in Germany that it accounts for almost half of that countrys total cheese production. The average German eats about 10 lbs. of Quark a year!
Was it spreadable like butter? There is a soft cheese called "butterkase" or butter cheese, which has a mild, tangy flavor and soft texture, and looks almost like a stick of butter. It's great as a breakfast cheese, but it's not creamy like a cream-cheese, more the texture of a soft meunster or jack cheese. Could this be it?
I used to find it at Trader Joe's in Los Angeles, but haven't seen it in several years.
Here's a link on one you can buy over the internet:
re: Michael M.
No, I love that too, but this was not at all tangy but very sweet. The best description I can think of is if you took fresh ricotta and whipped it up with sweet butter. But it must not be very well-known, since no one seems to have a guess. It definitely had a Polish, Serbian or Greek-sounding name.
If it was Polish, it could be farmer's cheese. I don't remember it tasting "buttery" exactly, but it was soft and the good ones were rich with a fluffy texture.
This cheese definitely comes sweetened and in several flavours - plain, with honey, lemon, berry flavours, and chocolate. Sometimes it's even flavoured with resin. It's sold in small square plastic containers in the dairy section.
This cheese is called tvarog in Polish and tvorog in Russian.
I lived in Belgrade for a year, and it just ocurred to me that maybe what your mum liked was kajmak (also called kaymak or kaimaki).
Kajmak is the Balkan/Ottoman answer to clotted cream. In Serbia at least it is used in both savoury and sweet dishes. And it is delicious on fresh bread...
Kaymak is very rich and mild and buttery - sweet like whipped cream, not like sugar. I didn't see it sold sweetened in Serbia, but maybe your mum bought a sweetened version from some other type of shop?
Try a Balkan or Turkish shop. It's hard to find homemade fresh stuff here, but you may get lucky. (Be aware that Bosnian kajmak is tangy like buttermilk instead of the sweeter Serbian kajmak that might be what your mum remembers.)