Thursday, March 19, 2009
Butter Taste Test
If you have read this blog for any length of time, you already are aware of what a huge food nerd I am. I love trying out new ingredients, looking for higher quality, better tasting products to use while baking and cooking. One main ingredient that I use almost all the time is butter. I've devoted way too much of my time to reading about and researching butter and the different qualities regions around the world impart into their butter. Again and again I have read that European butter is where it's at. Being from Wisconsin, dairy is not taken lightly, and a bit of state pride rose against this notion that somehow cows in far off places are better than the good ol' bovines I come across around these parts. But, also being from central Wisconsin, I don't have access to even TRY these aforementioned foreign butters to see how they stack up. So while in Houston, in the beautiful, bright, well-stocked Central Market's dairy section, I stood in awe, feeling a bit giddy, of all the varieties of butter. I had to try them. All of them. Now. It was difficult, but I was able to limit myself to purchasing three different kinds to take home. (A near crisis was averted, when TSA threatened to confiscate my beloved butter because if it melted, it would have turned into a LIQUID measuring more than 3 ounces. COME ON!) Tonight I warmed a loaf of french bread, and we sat down to put these three new butters to the test. From left to right, there is a butter from France, England, and Ireland. I had high expectations for these three, as I had read great things about all of them. First we tried the butter from France (which really, I just bought it because it came in a little wooden crate - how adorable!), and we both could tell a difference right away. It was smooth and creamy, not unlike our good Wisconsin butter, but the taste - it felt almost bright and clear and completely fresh on the palate. It didn't taste processed or mundane. It was downright lovely. Next we tried the English butter. Also good, but we both felt it tasted almost identical to any butter we could have gotten here. Finaly, the Irish butter. This was also exceptional. The taste again was fresh and bright, though not quite to the extent of the French butter. So in the end, the French won our little test. While each of the butters had an identical ingredient list (cream and salt), the difference came down to where those cows lived. Definitely a fun, and educational, dinner!