Boutique Butters are flourishing in Australia
Australian cultured butters are emerging as new boutique products in gourmet foods.
The growth of cultured butter can be traced in the Fine Food Awards at the Royal shows of Melbourne and Sydney. From the first winning entry in 2010, with Pepe Saya taking Champion Butter in Melbourne, cultured butter has begun to dominate dairy awards across Australia.
Cultured butter has a lactic culture added to cream, which is allowed to ferment and sour before being churned.
Aficionados say that cultured butter is a far cry from the daily supermarket fare, and artisan butter makers are emerging around Australia. Here are some of the innovators in different Australian States.
The Butter Factory at Mrytleford in Victoria
Operating out of an historic red-brick butter factory in the dairy farming region of Myrtleford, The Butter Factory is leading the way in artisan butters. Run by mother and daughter team Bronwyn and Naomi Ingleton, their butter has been winning accolades such as the Royal Sydney and Royal Melbourne Shows Fine Food Awards.
The original factory, which stopped producing butter in 1966, was redeveloped by the Ingleton family as a tourist cafe in 2007. The family created a small butter-making operation on the site in 2010. It is the delight of tourists who are able to watch the whole production process. In addition, the cafe sells lots of kitchen-based gift packs and utensils.
Hand-made with cream from local high country cows, the Butter Factory uses a unique blend of cultures to create butter in true European style.
Customers can view the butter making process when they visit they factory. There are also hands-on butter-making tours run on the 3rd Saturday of every month.
Pepe Sayas in New South Wales
Pierre Issa creates his hand-made cultured butter with a team of seven skilled butter makers. He says his mission is to create “the best butter in the world.”
He began his career in the hospitality industry and couldn’t understand why the restaurants he worked in were paying a premium to import French butter.
“Why, in one of the world’s top dairy producing countries, do we not have a restaurant-grade butter of our own? So we decided to make it ourselves,” Issa says.
Bangalow Cheese Factory in New South Wales
Bangalow Cultured Butter is a niche product from the Bangalow area. The business also makes cultured buttermilk from the bi-product of the butter-making.
Meander Valley Dairy in Northern Tasmania
Meander Valley Dairy is a family-owned business in northern Tasmania that specialises in the production of premium cream, and diversified with its branded Saint Omer cultured butter.
Elgaar Farm’s Organic Butter in North-West Tasmania
The Gretschmann family migrated to Australia two decades ago from Bavaria to north-west Tasmania. Their Elgaar Farm received organic certification in 1991, and developed a niche market specialising in milk, yoghurt and cheese and the move into organic cultured butter was a natural next step.