Cottage cheese dip – known as Huttenkuse mit schnittlauch in Switzerland and Alsace Lorraine- cottage cheese with chives.
When Klawitter’s Restaurant and Beer Garden in Delhi was demolished in 1974, the Enquirer referenced an interesting German dish. “Klawitter’s is gone now, along with evenings of good German music and beer. No more cottage cheese with schnitlock (top of green onion) from the restaurant.” We have heard about the many German taverns of Over-the-Rhine, but its rare to get a glimpse of what a ‘country’ German Cincinnati tavern’ looked like at the turn of the century. When I saw this I thought I had uncovered a forgotten culinary gold mine. Was cottage cheese mit schnitlock the West Side’s version of Kentucky Beer Cheese, or the south’s Pimento Cheese. Could we reinvigorate a long forgotten regional German-Cincinnati Cheese dip? Thanks to the amazing Delhi Historical Society and their features on the tavern, and some online sleuthing I was able to find out.
In front of Klawitter’s Tavern, 1895. On horse is Henry Reimerink, Kate Kuper Klawitter (Proprietress), baby is Clara Miller, Theresa Reimerink-Miller Alyward, Anna Miller, Eduard Klawitter (Proprietor), dog, Joseph Klawitter, John Barnhorst, Herman Nutter (note the wooden shoes Nutter is wearing, worn by the many floral gardeners of Delhi – consider them the German ‘crocs’ – and probably made by Valentin Bestil, a manufacturer of wooden shoes in Delhi in 1900)
Klawitters had been an iconic place for Delhi residents since 1895 when Eduard Klawitter and Katie Kuper Klawitter purchased it in 1895 from John and Lillie Brune. It was right across the street on Neeb road from Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, the first German Catholic Church on the West Side of Cincinnati. So every kid who went to school at OLV knew it as a place to get candy or a ham sandwich after school. Their fathers knew it as a place to get a cold Hudepohl beer, get hardware they needed, or catch up on the local news. It was like a grocery, hardware store, department store, saloon, and party hall rolled into one.
The French-Bauer Dairies were in Delhi, where The Farm Reception Hall is on Anderson Ferry today.
It’s not so far fetched that Delhi would have a cottage cheese dip, given all the German dairymen who farmed in the hills that bordered the Ohio River. In 1900 in Delhi, there were the dairies of Joseph Witsken, Joesph Behne, George Brosse, Henry Broxterman, Anthony Burhmann, Wilhelm Duebber, Gerhard Fennon, Fred Hunsicker, William Krebs, Henrich Wiegaus, and August Wuellner, to name a few. The dairy farmers used the spent grain from the breweries of Over-the-Rhine to feed their dairy cows. It was carted onto the Price Hill incline and loaded up the hill and transported by wagon to the farms of Delhi.
They all made cottage cheese, and there were plenty of wild onions growing on their farms to chop into chives to herb the cottage cheese. The cottage cheese must have been amazing – before pasteurization requirements, brewery grain-fed, and free range. The herbed cottage cheese would have been well known to the Delhi residents from lower Baden, which borders Switzerland and the Alsace Lorrain region of France, where I found that Huttenkase mit Schnittlauch is sold and enjoyed today.
The variety of brands of herbed cottage cheese – Hutenkase mit Schnittlauch – found today in Switzerland, Baden and Alsace Lorraine.
Berta Myers, a Delhi native farmgirl, wrote her recollections of her family providing cottage cheese to Klawitter’s Tavern from 1908-1917:
“During the summer months every Monday and Thursday was spent preparing the produce raised on the farm for marketing. …Mom took a wagon load of vegetables, fruits, eggs, butter, cottage cheese and buttermilk to our closest suburb, a three-mile trip. One of Mom’s customers was a woman who, with her husband ran a saloon. We’d arrive around noon and sometimes Mom would get ham sandwiches for our lunch. Big slabs of fresh rye bread and layers of delicious ham for a nickel.”
While adults could drink Hudepohl beer, kids had a choice of three drinks: mineral water, white or red Dewey, and sarsaparilla. The Klawitters added a party barn, where many wedding receptions were held, and a bowling alley. One unfortunate man, John Reimerink, met his death at the end of a ten pin to the skull, from his brother-in-law in front of the tavern.
Mrs. Frank, chief cook at Klawitter’s Restaurant in the 40s and 50s.
A Mrs. Frank was the chief cook and caterer for Klawitter’s Restaurant and the party barn in the 40s and 50s, who proliferated the cottage cheese and schnittloch they served. It’s not known if she or her family were from lower Baden, or maybe she just continued a long standing tradition of the area.
I think the Crow’s Nest should bring back the old Delhi Dip – huttenkase mit schnitlauch – and add it to their menu.