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Butter Tasting: Cows Creamery, Président, Kerrygold, Delitia, Rodolphe Le Meunier, and Sierra Nevada

August 21, 2012

Butter-Tasting-2

Time for another round of butter tasting!

My last butter tasting post (Kerrygold, Organic Valley, Lurpak and Smjor) was quite popular, so I figured I should put my souvenirs from my recent road trip to Seattle to good use (not that I need an excuse for consuming copious amounts of butter!).

 

The Butters

Butter-Tasting-2-Blind
(The butters are not in the same order as the packaged ones at the top of the page)

Four of the butters were bought at DeLaurenti Specialty Food & Wine in Seattle’s Pike Place Market: President (France), Beurre de Baratte (France), Delitia Buffalo Milk Butter (Italy), and Sierra Nevada (US). I knew I couldn’t really compare the buffalo milk butter to the others, but I was curious because I had seen it on Chef Lynn Crawford’s Pitchin In’. I also thought I should throw a Canadian butter into the mix, and so I bought Cow’s Creamery unsalted butter from Prince Edward Island. I chose that one because it was available at Whole Foods, and because PEI is about the furthest distance from BC from which I can get butter (Canada doesn’t allow imported butters). And, for good measure, I threw in my beloved Kerrygold into the mix, because it’s my everyday butter (ditto the 3 other tasters, and probably a lot of you reading this), and I was curious how it’d stack up against the others.

A) Cows Creamery

Cows-Creamery-Butter
(Photo of butter was taken after butter tasting (frozen), see photo at top of page for original condition)

Name Cows Creamery
Origin Prince Edward Island, Canada
Salted? No
Cultured? No
Ingredients Cream
Organic No
Pastured Unknown
Butterfat % 83% (some sources say 84%)
Package marketing None
Website marketing None
Info found online Natural, no preservatives or colour added, made by churning cream slower and longer in traditional churns gives the butter a creamier taste and a silkier texture; new product (2011)


B) Président

President-Butter

Name Président
Origin Normandy, France
Salted? No
Cultured? Yes
Ingredients Pasteurized cream, lactic starter
Organic? No
Pastured? Unknown
Butterfat % 82%?
Package marketing From The Heart of Normandy. What gives Président butter its full nutty flavor, creamy texture and gold yellow color, making it a must among high quality imported butters? Président butter is made in the Normandy region of France. This region is considered as the “Grand Cru” among French and other European dairy regions, thanks to its oceanic climate and rich grass. The other reason: natural lactic ferments are added to the cream before churning, which enhances the natural flavor of butter. Enjoy Président butter on bread or with fresh radish, melted on cooked vegetables or pastas. It is also perfect in pastries, sauces and all sorts of baked and cooked recipes.; “First Quality”
Website marketing http://www.presidentcheese.com/


C) Kerrygold

Kerrygold-Butter

Name Kerrygold
Origin Ireland
Salted? No
Cultured? Yes
Ingredients Cultured pasteurized cream
Organic? No, but hormone-free
Pastured? Yes
Butterfat % 82%
Package marketing Pure Irish butter; milk from grass-fed cows; “First Quality”; In Ireland, cows graze on the green pastures of small family farms. This milk is churned to make Kerrygold butter
Website marketing http://www.kerrygold.com/
- Ireland’s dairy herds graze freely outdoors on green pastures for most of the year
- Grass-fed cows (not grain-fed)
- No preservatives, hormones, and unnatural additives


D) Delitia Buffalo Milk Butter

Delitia-Buffalo-Milk-Butter

Name Delitia Buffalo Milk Butter
Origin Italy
Salted? No
Cultured? Yes
Ingredients Pasteurized water buffalo cream, cultures
Organic? No
Pastured? Unknown
Butterfat % 83%
Package marketing “This butter, with its delicately rustic and aromatic flavor, is produced with pasteurized Bufala creams from the Bufala milk collected in the area of production of the mythic Bufala Mozzarella. Its quality assured by the selection of the farms where the Bufala milk is produced and, in compliance with severe and rigorous disciplinary of production.”
Website marketing http://www.delitia.com/prodotti/buffalo-milk-butter.aspx
”It is pale porcelain in color and intense in flavor which is the best testimony of its high quality.”


E) Beurre de Baratte, Rodolphe Le Meunier

Beurre-de-Baratte-Rodolphe-le-Meunier

Name Beurre de Baratte, Rodolphe Le Meunier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (“Best Craftsman of France”)
Origin Normandy, France
Salted? Yes (2.5%) – Salé a la Fleur de Sel de L’Ile de Ré
Cultured? Unknown
Ingredients Unknown
Organic? No
Pastured? Yes
Butterfat % Unknown
Package marketing Moulé à la main (handmade)
Website marketing None.
Internet info - “The “Baratte” process constitutes of separating the milk, spinning the heaviest part into a creamy and thick consistency, and later re-injecting the butter with cream, for a decadent and sumptuous texture and flavor.”
–> Please let me know if you have found any other information on this butter


F) Sierra Nevada Vat- Cultured European Style Butter

Sierra-Nevada-Organic-Vat-Cultured-European-Style-Butter

Name Sierra Nevada Vat-Cultured European Style Butter
Origin Willows, CA, USA
Salted? No
Cultured? Yes
Ingredients Certified organic pasteurized cream, cultures
Organic? Yes
Pastured? Unknown
Butterfat % 82%
Package marketing “Local organic cream is cured in small batches with live active cultures. Our rich, old-fashioned flavor and European-style butterfat level perfectly suits table use, cooking, and superior baking!”
”We handcraft award-winning Natural and Organic artisan cheeses & fine dairy foods in Northern California”.”
”American Humane Association Certified Organic Farms”
Website marketing “Our Organic Butter is vat-cured with live active cultures in a time-activated process to develop a distinctive all-natural flavor. Its rich European-style butterfat content creates a creamy texture you’ll find irresistible.”
“Sierra Nevada Cheese Company strives to bring you the best products free from artificial ingredients or hormones. Our organic dairy partners achieve American Humane Association animal welfare standards.”
“Our products are free from:

  • Gums
  • Fillers
  • Preservatives
  • Added hormones
  • Antibiotics
  • Rennet”

 

The Tasting

I gathered the same 4 testers as last time, and followed the same format of rating each butter on a scale of 1-5 on colour, smell, texture, and taste. No one other than me knew which butter was which (and I did my darndest to forget, which of course is not completely possible, resulting in some level of bias). Everyone else got a brief look at the still packaged butters, as well as a quick overview about the countries of origin and types of butter we’d be trying. I removed the butter from the fridge about 30 minutes prior to the tasting.

The Results

First off, I decided to pull two  butters out of the rankings so as to not skew the results.

I didn’t foresee just how “different” the buffalo milk butter would be. Shockingly, everyone found this butter pretty much inedible. It reminded us of lard, and not in a good way. I can’t believe how unappetizing this butter is – to the point that I’m wondering if it’s possible for there to be something wrong with this particular block. My google search of what it should taste like was pretty fruitless. If you’ve tried this butter, let me know what you think of my reaction. I’d be very curious to give this one a try again, although only if I didn’t have to buy a whole block. There’s no point including this butter in the rankings, as it would come last in every category.

The other butter I’m pulling out of the ranking hierarchy is a little more complicated. One thing I learned from this tasting is to not have both salted and unsalted butters in one tasting. Salted butters taste very different from unsalted ones, which can skew the results, depending on how much someone likes salt. I included a salted butter in the previous butter tasting without any issues, but Rodolphe Le Meunier’s butter is uncharacteristically salty. It’s also very deep yellow and has a different texture, to the point of one taster suspecting that it may have gone bad and ranking it the lowest. Interestingly everyone else including me ranked it the highest overall. I think there were too many things going on with this butter to be able to simply compare it to the others, and it warrants buying it again to make sure there was nothing off about this particular block and then trying it alongside other salted butters.

The 4 remaining butters ranked as follows:

1st Place: Kerrygold (54/60): It’s possible that there may have been a slight bias towards this butter, since this is the one that all the tasters use on a daily basis. However, the butter was the deepest yellow out of the four, and comments included that it tasted really good, held its texture well, and had nice grassy flavors.

2nd Place: Président (50/60): This one was a close second, although it was noticeably more pale. Interestingly, everyone other than me really liked this butter. Personally, I found it a little watery and thought that it had a weird aftertaste.

3rd Place: Sierra Nevada (45/60): This butter didn’t really stand out one way or another – no one had any problems with it, but it didn’t wow anyone, either. I found it to be very “neutral” which would explain its “average” standing.

4th Place: Cows Creamery (40/50): Sadly, the only Canadian butter of the bunch was found lacking all around. Not only was it pale, but it was found to be watery and bland. I thought it tasted “cheap”.

In case you’re wondering, my rankings were the same as above, except reverse Président and Sierra Nevada.

Thoughts

It’s always interesting to see how people’s preferences differ, and I recommend trying out a few butters yourself to see what you like. From these tastings, it seems like imports are a pretty good bet, because they tend to have higher butterfat content – so that’s what I’d look for in local butters as well. But clearly that’s not the only factor, as seen with the Cows Creamery butter which was 83-84%. “European-style” butters that are cultured also seem to have more care go into their production and tend to be higher butterfat, so they’re also worth a try. And of course, pastured and organic butters are typically both tastier and healthier. As for myself, until I can get my hands on some more butters to try, I’ll happily continue using Kerrygold as my everyday butter.

Have you tried any of these butters? What did you think? What’s your favourite butter?

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Leave a Comment

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Bev August 22, 2012 at 7:44 AM

I love that just as I discover a slew – yes, I said slew – of Canadian organic pastured butters you post another butter tasting post! Great minds and all… See, I just don’t get across the border with any frequency and it just pisses me off that we are being kept from the glorious goodness that is Kerrygold. But given the natural resources we have in Canada, especially in BC, should we be able to make a butter that rivals the best in the world?
I’ll need to save up some tips in order to be able to try out these ones on my own but here’s what I’ve found recently: http://www.organicvalley.coop/products/butter/
http://www.fromagerieancetre.com/
http://www.paradise-foods.com/
There was another one as well but I’ll need to dig back through my browser history for it. Maybe it’s time for an all-Canadian butter throw down?!

Reply

admin@primalist August 22, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Thanks for the links, I’ll check these out! And you read my mind – the next butter tasting I have planned will be an all Canadian edition :) Let me know if you come across any other interesting ones.

Reply

admin@primalist August 22, 2012 at 7:14 PM

So the first one is US not Canadian?

I’ve seen the third one locally and may even have tried it, can’t remember.. would be a good one to include in the butter tasting..

And the 2nd one I haven’t seen around here.

Thanks!

Reply

Meghan August 23, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I just got back from London and may or may not have smuggled some President’s butter in my carry on (I had no idea whether I was allowed to or not but after reading your post, I think I got lucky!). So do you buy your Kerrygold in the US then?

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admin@primalist August 23, 2012 at 9:43 PM

Yeah, I buy Kerrygold from the US – you’re allowed to bring back up to $20 worth of dairy per person. So if you go often enough, and bring some friends along who have zero interest in hoarding butter, you can stock up nicely :) Let me know how you like President’s butter.

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Jeffrey September 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Any suggestions on the best organic butters?

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admin@primalist September 18, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Organic Valley Pastured Special Edition butter is a good choice, since it’s both organic and pastured.

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Kent Kissinger October 6, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Give Somerdale English Butter a taste. Its our favourite and I think you will enjoy it. In second place for us would be Smjor from Iceland.

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admin@primalist October 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Interesting, I haven’t heard of it. I’ll keep an eye out for it.

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Barry November 30, 2012 at 10:33 AM

I just bought the Delitia Buffalo milk butter from Whole Foods on a whim, because I love the regions food. I agree with your tastes. It tasted like lard to me as well. Very bland and “lardy” to the tongue….I use Kerrygold unsalted everyday and did an immediate comparison. Kerrygold all the way! I’ll just cook lightly with the Delitia until gone…

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admin@primalist December 1, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Interesting. I’ve since found out that the block of Delitia I bought was a year old – so that could’ve had something to do with it. I’m looking forward to trying it more “fresh”. But it’s certainly interesting to hear someone else’s take on it.

Reply

Deena February 1, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I’m so glad I found you ! Yea…someone else who LOVES and appreciates
pastured butter as I do. Thanks for doing the taste tests. I truly enjoyed your
very real and thorough comments. Tell me: whatever became of the Smjor
brand from Iceland? I understand that it was THE best. It’ driving me bats
that I can’t find out anything about how to get it. Thanks from Deena in Fl .

Reply

admin@primalist February 1, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Hi Deena, thanks for stopping by :) Don’t know if you read my other butter tasting, but there Smjor actually won. As to what happened to it, I’m not sure. It’s not available in Canada and I don’t shop in the States as often as I’d like. So I’m not sure if it’s disappeared or if it’s still available. Last time I came across it was at a US Whole Foods. Can anyone else chime in?

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Jim August 16, 2013 at 12:40 PM

http://www.smjor.is/Where-to-buy/ lists Whole Foods as the main supplier.

You guys/gals may want to seek out some Amul butter from India also. http://www.amul.com

RJD May 24, 2013 at 10:31 PM

I just picked up Smjor at Whole Foods here in Denver. It’s new to me and I’m excited to try it out this weekend. I would think it should be available at most WF locations.

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admin@primalist May 26, 2013 at 9:41 AM

In my first taste test, Smjor beat out its competition – so I’d be surprised if you didn’t like it!

Caroline Chamblin February 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM

So I am tasting butters too. There are a few local dairies producing butters in the Pacific NW and I will be comparing them to Kerrygold. I live in Bellingham so am often in Vancouver.
bye,
Caroline

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admin@primalist February 26, 2013 at 9:41 PM

Interesting. Definitely report back – I’d love to hear your results!

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Erin July 17, 2013 at 8:18 AM

Kerrygold assured me a year or two ago that the cows ate ONLY grass. The company recently changed their FAQ and admitted that the cows eat GM grain in the winter. If the grain were organic, I might still buy it, but GMOs? No thank you.

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admin@primalist July 17, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Hi Erin, thanks for the heads up! I posted about this on my facebook to help spread the word. Devastating news!

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Juliana Loh (@bilbaobab) August 2, 2013 at 10:35 AM

Yesterday I tried for the first time Le Meunier’s butter with freshly baked bread from the Boulangerie. You are right about the colour and texture that reminds one a little about margarine but it was salty and phenomenal on fresh bread – one of the best butters I’ve had. I also like salted Échire.

The chèvre cheese (goat) of Le Meunier is also excellent!

Ps really loved this in depth look at butter!

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admin@primalist August 6, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Thanks for stopping by! :) There’s nothing quite like an amazing butter…

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abat jour December 8, 2013 at 4:48 PM

Yeah the buffalo milk stuff is bad – I had this one before and found it inedible as well.

I found kerrygold molds quickly in my fridge.

I also love butter. The best one I have ever head was a french butter I found in Andronicos in Berkeley, ca. I have never seen it anywhere else and no longer live in the area – but that butter, used on waffles, was the best butter I have ever had!

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admin@primalist August 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Interesting, I don’t know where one would buy Amul, outside of India. Maybe in the US some Indian specialty grocery stores carry it? Apparently that one is only 80% butterfat. No idea if the cows are grass-fed.

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