January 15, 2012

Pottekeis a Brussels gueuze cheese spread

Green onions and owls


Gueuze Girardin

Making pottekeis

Adding the finishing touches

Gueze in plattekeis



Belgian Guezes

Pottekeis is a tangy, creamy fresh cream spread made out of farm style soft cheeses, young spring onions, and gueuze (a type of Belgian beer containing a blend of 1, 2, and 3 year old lambics). I first tried Pottekeis at Cantillon's Brewery Quintessence. Pottekeis is made by mixing Brussels cheese (ettekeia type of salted cheese made with skimmed cow's milk), sour cream (plattekeis a fresh sour cream kind of like plain yogurt since it has some presence of fermenting cultures), young spring chives, and gueze. Pottekeis can be seasoned with a bit of fresh cracked black pepper and celery salt. 

So where can you get it? I've carried around my wrinkled copy of the Quintessence descriptions to several cheese shops in town, but was unable to come away with any (I live 20 minutes from Brussels! Argh!). I routinely travel to Moeder Lambic for their excellent pottekeis (they also have a delightful cheese plate). Pottekeis should be on the menu of any cafe that serves authentic lambics. While unable to find ettekeis, plattekeis is readily available in the supermarkets. There are lots of fresh young spring onions at the markets, but regular green onions are fine. Use the best gueuze you can find. Pottekeis will last up to a week in the fridge. Serve along, or on top of toasted sourdough bread, and cut up veggies. 

Dairy products, such as fresh cream/sour/cottage cheeses taste much different than their US counterparts. They are almost always superior here, tasting fresher, lacking the saltiness that dominates sour and cottage cheeses in the US. Yogurt is the right balance of tang with cream, much better for eating plain than US types which can be too sour. I would recommend using a European-style yogurt or a very mild plain yogurt, mixed together with a bit of sour cream). This isn't to knock the US styles, but I think it's worth mentioning when trying to recreate the flavors. Overall, I find myself using ingredients here, adapting them until I find a taste I like, and not bothering to miss the old stuff. 

I think the essence of pottekeis is a bit of this and a bit of that; a nice snack to go along with an afternoon beer, or if you're like me you'll enjoy it on top of toasted pumpernickel bread. Oh right. Geuze or gueuze - this is Belgium after all. 

Yield: 1 large container, probably 8 oz. 

1-2 cups plattekeis, or a mixture of plain yogurt and sour cream
ettekeis to taste (if you can find it), or omit like I did. 
1 small bunch young spring onions chopped finely, or 3-4 regular green onions
few tablespoons gueuze (such as Cantillon or Girardin), to taste
salt and pepper to taste, optional celery salt 

Put everything in a small mixing bowl and stir everything together until it is combined. Store in an airtight container.


  1. Nilam, you're an American of Indian descent teaching me, the Belgian living in the US, about one of the oldest & most traditional foods in Belgium. Amazing.

    This would go amazingly well together with Karl's crusty homebread, I'm sure!

    PS. did you get caught up by the 'is' in the title...pottekeis *is* a brussels geuze cheese spread? :)

    1. I routinely get thrown off by words such as "is" and "a" especially when combining them with English. So when are you going to try making some?! and report back. Crusty bread! Send some of your this way.

  2. Plattekeis is hard to get in the US. I used to eat it all the time for breakfast in Belgium... I actually bought some "European style quark" the other day to make German Liptauer spread/dip, which was decent to make the spread, but it was kinda gritty... weird and not what I'd want with my morning fruit & granola! :-/

    1. Maybe a creme fraiche with some quality sour cream, or plain yogurt. I think the fermenting cultures helps it stay longer too.