OMG where did you find it??? I used to visit my grandma in Germany when I was small, and she would make dessert with it, mixing it with cream and wild berries. It is very hard to find outside of Germany, and the few varieties you find in the U.S. just aren't the same. It is a cultured/soured milk product like yogurt or sour cream so it depends on the quality of the milk and culture for its flavor. There are a few companies in the midwest and northeast US that produce it where there are people of German heritage.
It is usually fairly low fat, but you should check the label to see the fat content; the normal low fat one is called "Magerquark" (lean quark). Very occasionally there might be a type that has the cream already added, like my grandma did herself. It has a slightly different tang than either yogurt or sour cream, so try it in different things and see if you like it. It can have more of a liquidy or thicker consistency depending on how it is made. Usually comes in tubs close to the sour cream or yogurt section.
You can use it for anything you would use buttermilk, sour cream, yogurt or creme fraiche or potentially even cream cheese for; like baking, or topping things. It goes very well with fruit desserts; you can add sugar to taste or leave it plain if the dessert is sweet, to complement it. Germans don't like things very sugary, so where Americans would have a very sweet whipped cream on a sweetened berry pie, they will have very lightly sweetened, almost plain whipped cream or plain quark with a fruit dessert. Or sweetened quark with a sour fruit. I remember our American neighbors never liked my mom's berry pies when she brought them to a potluck because she would hardly put any sugar in them.
Germans believe it is very good for you (especially the low fat Magerquark). They have a tradition of believing a "healthy digestion" is the key to general health, and they tend to think fermented things like yogurt and quark are good for digestion.
"Quark" in some German dialects means "nonsense" and I heard once that is how the name of the atomic particle the quark got its name. If you got in trouble and tried to tell a whopper to my grandma she would snort and say "Quark!"
Last edited by bronzeager : 06-15-2010 at 02:02 PM.