Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Best Butter

Is there really a best butter? Experts in France (and who would know better?) seem to agree that it's Beurre Bordier, made by Jean-Yves Bordier in Brittany -- not Normandy (sacré bleu!) -- although the milk he uses comes from cows located in both provinces.

I tried the two pictured here, le beurre doux and le beurre au sel fumé. And yes, it is the best butter. I don't think it's cultured, which would be rare for high-quality French butter, because the sweet butter does not have the characteristic sour tang; it's like the best non-cultured butter imaginable. And the smoked salt butter was little short of divine, on toast and in tiny slices placed in the middle of a split radish.

According to Bordier's web site, the special complex buttery notes are a result of 15-25 minutes of kneading (malaxage) in a teak vessel and the artisanal barattage process, which I don't understand at all. The final bars are shaped by hand using wooden spatulas on wooden tables, by workers who must have "great dexterity and clock-like consistency." Charming if nothing else.

Apart from baking, I don't actually use much butter, but I am tempted to sample every variety of Bordier's, and there are quite a few. Here's the current list from their website:

Les classiques
  • Le beurre doux
  • Le beurre demi-sel
  • Le beurre salé
Les spécialités
  • Le beurre au sel fumé
  • Le beurre aux algues
  • Le beurre au Yuzu
  • Le beurre au Piment d’Espelette
Beurre Bordier is now available in Paris in selected cheese and other gourmet stores. I got mine at Lafayette Gourmet.

Bobby Jay

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