Food Friday: Leberkäse (Liver Cheese) and Bavarian Royalty

leberkaese liver cheese“Leberkäse?  What exactly is “liver cheese”(the direct translation)?  I asked looking up from the menu as we settled in for lunch at a hut overlooking the Chiemsee (lake in the German Alps).  My German dining companions struggled to explain.  “Well it’s pork” they all quickly agreed.  “It’s… a mixture of meat.”  “You really just have to try it as it’s difficult to explain,” chimed in someone else.  “It’s a local specialty (Bavarian),” offered someone else.  “It was invented by the cook of a Bavarian duke,” supplied someone else.  Which while all very interesting wasn’t helping me to identify the mystery meat.  “Is it made of liver and cheese?” I asked, my lip curled up.  “NO” came the reply in unison, although I later found out that while Bavarian Leberkäse doesn’t contain liver, other varieties of Leberkäse do contain a small portion of liver.

Despite my curiosity, I wasn’t feeling confident about ordering the mystery meat so  J.P. (my German husband) offered to order it so that I could try a bite.  When it came out, I told my German companions that I thought it resembled SPAM which was met with blank stares.  “You know the meat that comes out of a can that’s really cheap and popular with university students.”  From the scowls on their faces it was clear that my unflattering comparison of Leberkäse to canned meat wasn’t appreciated.  I cautiously tasted a small bite – yep it tasted exactly like warm SPAM.  I wonder what other “treats” Bavarian royalty were served and how in a time of change Leberkäse has managed to survive 235 years since its founding in 1776.

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  1. John says

    I guess the source of the meat that is ground/cooked into these bars makes all the difference. If you put all the nasty stuff in there you got cheap crap, if you put good meat in there you have a good meal.

    The same as with mac n cheese and Käse Spätzle. You can take cheap cheese and cheap noodles and you got crap, but take good noodles and good cheese and you got yourself a winner.

  2. chris says

    I just came from eating it, and it definitely looks exactly like spam.. however, it tasted pretty good, though I don’t recall how spam tastes. The texture is exactly how I imagine spam’s is…

  3. says

    It’s spam, there’s no denying it! I had exactly the same reaction in Berlin last weekend… This just doesn’t slide out of a can first. I’ll stick with the currywurst… :O)

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