Butter 101- Tasting Time

As promised, here is a shopping list for you to go out a try some of these amazing butters for yourself. I have mentioned some favorites where I have either used or tasted the butters listed. However, I have not tasted them all, so any feedback would be great.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a sampling of the butters I personally enjoy or on which I have heard very positive feedback. So, am I suggesting you go out and buy 10 different kinds of butter, grab a spoon and start tasting? Not exactly. 

I personally would recommend a more formal tasting experiment, using a neutral bread, say a baguette. Maybe invite over some friends. Cut it into thin slices and then after the butters have come up to a soft texture and are not cold, do a taste test and see what you like and don’t like. Then use the rest to either bake or cook and you will have your favorite butter.

Buerre de Baratte by Celles Sur Belle– Matured in barrel shaped drums for 24 hours, this is a top French butter. The name baratte or “to churn” refers to the process of making this butter, which is completely churned rather than done with the centrifuge method. It comes in a little wooden basket in 1 lb. size. Very impressive.

As with many French butters, it has it’s own AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllee’), which means that this specific region is given a special appellation or designation due to the fact that this region creates products which are unique and only products from this region can have this specific appellation. You find a similar system in place for wines, cheese and other agricultural products. This started as  French institution, but is now moving to other countries, primarily Italy and Spain.

Buerre Echine– Known as one of the best butters in France. Due to this fact, 85% of the production is kept in France. Normally you can order it, but watch the freshness. AOC

La Baratte des Gourmets– The cream is matured for 18 hours and then they produce this amazing butter. Just amazing on fresh baked bread. AOC

Buerre D’Isigny– Produced since the 16th Century, this is a top butter and known for it’s creaminess and hazelnut flavor. AOC

President– Good quality cultured butter which is easily available.

Pamplie– Absolute top quality cultured butter. Hard to find, but worth the search. I have seen it at Whole Foods on occasion.

Lescure– Top marks for baking and cooking. 

Lurpak– Quality butter made from 100% Danish milk. Common in northern Europe and often in commercial operations, like on many European airlines.

Buerre d’Ardenne – Made specifically from cows which graze within the Ardenne region of Belgium. Very grassy  and earthy flavor.

Chimay– Known for it’s wonderful yellow color and rich flavor, this is a direct result of the diet of the cows which graze on grass and flowers.

Kerrygold– Top quality butter from Ireland, made from milk from Irish cows and very well thought of as a top butter for baking. Readily available.

Parmigiano Reggiano Butter – This unique and top quality butter is made from the milk which is used to make the world famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. As the selection of milk is extremely strict, this butter is special. The flavor is strong and earthy and has a definite cheese like flavor. Great to make a Ragu Bolognese.

Anchor – A very popular butter, with lovely color and taste. My only issue here is it does have to travel quite a ways to get to us, so is it the best option for freshness?

Double Devon Cream Butter – Brought to you from the same people who produce the fantastic Devon cream and clotted cream, so stands to reason they would make one amazing butter.

Vermont Butter and Cream Cultured Butter – Probably one of the best butters made in America. A powerful aroma, color and a whopping 86% butterfat. Top notch choice for baking, especially cookies.

Horizon European Style Butter – A very good organic high butterfat butter. Great choice for making and cooking and normally very fresh. A top contender.

Plugra – A readily available butter that is common with chefs. Excellent quality.

If you really want to go all out and learn some more, Saveur magazine published a list of their top 31, so take a look at www.saveur.com/gallery/30-Great-Butters/1

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