We have Germany to thank for introducing us to quark, a milky fresh, slightly tart spreadable cheese that's kind of a cross between sour cream and ricotta. The Germans pronounce it "kvarg." Here in Wisconsin, we pronounce it "quite scrumptious."
Packed with protein but zero salt, quark can do anything Greek yogurt can do. It's a specialty cheese that's especially good at adding moisture and creamy flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. So, thanks again to the Germans for making us realize how much we needed this light and silky smoothie to complete our cheese life. Quark, you had us at hello.
Quark is a team player – it'll take on any role you ask it to. Quark can add creamy flavor to moussaka or Indian butter chicken just as easily as cheesecakes or blueberry parfaits. We love it dolloped on potatoes or stirred into rich pasta dishes, spread over toast, or mixed with whip cream and lemon zest to fill a crepe. Quark makes great cheese dips, too. Try mixing it with mango chutney and lime for a spicy sweet-and-sour party dip.
When quark is on the table, it adores light and bright beverages – think crisp German and Austrian whites like riesling, Müller-Thurgau and Grüner Veltliner. But really, anything slightly acidic and off-dry will make quark happy.
Quark is a fresh cheese similar to farmer's cheese or cottage cheese and typically made with pasteurized skimmed cow's milk or a small amount of cream. Quark has a creamy texture and a slightly tart taste, similar to a mild sour cream.
To make quark, cheesemakers start by curdling milk with lactic acid. (Some cheesemakers produce quark with small amounts of rennet.) The curds are heated and stirred continuously to prevent hardening as it thickens. The final product is a white, soft cheese that is sold and served without aging.
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The Germans may have invented quark, but Wisconsin cheesemakers (and cheese eaters) have gone gaga over this creamy white charmer. It's just one more example of the truth of our cheesemaking abilities. We know that here in Wisconsin, we make some of the best cheese in the world.
Sorry if that sounds a little braggadocious. (It's not really like us to toot our own horn, but darn it, our cheese really needs some tooting.) Our cheesemakers have been making world-class cheese for over 175 years – since before Wisconsin was even a state. Today, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese, quark included, than any other state or country in the world. And our 5,552 cheese awards? They just go to show that the world pretty much agrees – if it's quark or any other cheese from Wisconsin, it's likely to be the best cheese on the planet.
Craving award-winning aged cheddar, pining for parmesan, or searching for a new cheese to try? The world’s best cheese is just a click away! Explore our directory of Wisconsin cheesemakers and retailers who offer online cheese shopping and get cheese shipped right to your door. What are you waiting for?
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In Wisconsin, we make more flavors, varieties, and styles of cheese than anywhere else in the world. We believe in tradition, producing everything from Italian classics, like parmesan and ricotta, to swiss cheese and cheddar varieties. But every Wisconsin cheesemaker is an innovator as well, which is why we have so many Wisconsin originals, like colby and muenster. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich, potatoes au gratin, or a charcuterie board, Wisconsin cheese makes every dish and recipe tastier.