Marisa Mauro makes cultured butter at Ploughgate Creamery
Cultured butter is back. These days, the old style is getting a new look—and we’re getting hooked. What makes this butter better? Long before the era of pasteurizing milk, cream would naturally ferment, creating a complex, tangy finish in the final product. Today’s cultured butter makers create the same effect day by inoculating the cream with cultures before churning. If you’re looking to up your butter game this year, here are some standouts to start with.
I wasn’t exposed to cultured butter until one of my first cheesemongering jobs in San Diego. That’s where I found Angel Salumi Infused Black Truffle Butter: so potent, so aromatic, so dreamy. It’s made with the milk of grass-fed Californian cows and infused with Perigord truffles.
Vermont is well known for cheese, but it’s also home to some exemplary butter makers. At Ploughgate Creamery, Marisa Mauro cultures her butter for a full 48 hours, rendering it deeply flavorful: bright, tangy, and nutty. Another tried-and-true Green Mountain State pick, Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter—which is sold in salted, unsalted, and maple-infused variations (yes, please)—is extra-creamy; while most American bars hover around 80 percent, this stunner contains up to 86 percent butterfat.
Many of my favorites hail from France, where makers have been perfecting cultured butter for centuries. For a butter that makes me feel fancy without the high price tag, I turn to Isigny Ste. Mere, whose long history of quality buttermaking in Normandy is reflected in the sumptuous, creamy Beurre d’Isigny. When I’m treating myself, I call upon a modern-day master: Rodolphe le Meunier. The famous cheesemonger is exporting new flavors of famous churned and cultured Beurre de Baratte that will blow your hair back: A Madagascar Wild Pepper that awakens the senses with an earthy spice and sensual fruitiness; a seaweed butter that deftly harmonizes the dance between tangy cream and briny, umami notes; and a Viking Salt, with its striking golden paste, slightly smoky aroma, and a touch of sweet tang reminiscent of BBQ kettle chips.
What’s topping my own butter bucket list this year? Two words: butter bar. Bella la Crema, a Colorado-based maker focusing on grass-fed, organic, cultured butters infused with flavors like saffron, cardamom, and bee pollen, just opened a storefront in Lyons, Colo. In addition to buying butter, you can taste twelve different flavors, sip butter coffee, and order from a butter-laden food menu at the new spot.