Everything is better with butter or haven’t you heard?
I was excited to learn a lot more about European butter traditions at a recent event with Butter of Europe so, I thought I would share some of the highlights with you.
- To make 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of butter, you need 22 liters (5.8 gallons) of milk! First, you skim the milk and leave the cream to mature for 24 hours. Then, you churn the cream to produce grains of butters that you knead into smooth blocks. All in all, it takes about 48 hours to make.
- The yellow color of butter comes from beta carotene, naturally found in milk, that is converted into vitamin A in your body. The more grass that the cows producing the milk eat, the more yellow the butter. “Summer butter” is thus more richly colored and richer in vitamins.
Having already loved French butter, it was fascinating to find out more about the protected status of butter – as with most agricultural products in France, butter production is heavily regulated. There are only three types of butter that enjoy the status of protected designation of origins (PDOs): butter that comes from the regions of Poitou-Charentes, Isigny, and Bresse. These three regions produce butter of exceptional quality and taste within the tradition specific to the local terroir.
I am partial to Isigny butter – it has the most gorgeous natural golden color and a subtle nutty taste. And the variety with salt crystals just makes me swoon.
Of course we all know that butter makes beautiful baking (croissants! pie crusts!), grilling (steak!), and sautéing (every vegetable) possible. But I love enjoying butter as a food on its own, tasting its true flavor on a piece of crusty baguette.
ps. If you ever feel a bit guilty about enjoying quality butter in moderation (though you shouldn’t), remember that it is also a great source of Vitamins A and D. It also has less calories than oil!