Five national butters that the French could envy

Butter is love, and in these times that stumble rather than run, we are all quite lacking in affection. She has something of a motherly shelter, we lower our guard when we approach her: we become ointment. Not only do I say it: also Ottolenghi that when she needs a hug, she opens the fridge for a hug of animal fat.

We resorted to it during confinement, during which the consumption of dairy products, including butter, increased in Spain by up to 45% according to data from the National Federation of Dairy Industries (FeNIL). In some countries such as Canada, conspiracy theories were unleashed around the strange firmness that their butters presented due to a production forced against the clock. They call him Buttergate (or A milk scandal as Warner Brothers would title it). In this matter of butter, those of the north have always had more faith, it will be because of its Viking origin. While olive oil is the one that polishes the breads of the south, the trace of butter has never finished disappearing from Despeñaperros up.

“While not everyone still has cheese in the fridge, they do always have a stick of butter, even if it’s industrial. In Europe butter has been taken more into consideration ”, says Clara Díez, founder of the Madrid cheese factory Formaje, “But it is not something inappropriate for Spanish culture either.” To have them, there are them; And these five have brought tears to more than one, because perhaps what we are looking for in butter is “the memory of a happy world”, as José Luis Garci would say. But hey, he was referring to the drinks.

Chantada butter from Jersey cows from Airas Moniz (Chantada, Lugo)

It is the favorite of Jorge Guitián, gastronomic popularizer and secondary road expert: “In some way it reminds me of those butters from many years ago. Here, in Santiago, when I was a kid in the early 80s, ladies from the outskirts still came to sell homemade butter balls wrapped in collard greens, something that was lost with the entry into the EU ”. What they do at Airas Moniz is to restore the emotion to butter, the same emotion that a whole generation has felt when rescuing the cream from the surface of the saucepan with a piece of bread when cooking fresh milk.

Ana Vázquez is the creator, along with Ricardo and Xesús, of this Galician butter with a creamy and dense texture, smooth and buttery, full of nuances that arise from the fact that it is not pasteurized. In spring, it tastes of herbs; in summer, to nuts. The extensive livestock farming that they practice and the natural diet with which their Jersey cows are fed (which produce a smaller volume of milk, but with a greater amount of fat) also have a lot to do with this. The natural fermentation and the 24-hour rest that they also grant to the cream, of course; a good nap does not hurt anyone.

The trio from the Airas Moniz cheese factory -if you have not done so yet, we also recommend you to try their two references, Terra and Savel- left their respective jobs in the city “to show that you can live in rural areas doing something that you love. like it and that highlights a territory in which many feel inferior for no reason ”. Happy cows. And they too. Oh, and it comes in biodegradable packaging made from grass waste and wood chips.

Price: 12 euros for 250 grams in specialized cheese shops. Accept orders through its website.

The ecological farm of La Sierra Farm (Villacarriedo, Cantabria)

Sinking the tooth to the valley of Pasiego, that’s what it’s all about. The fifty Friesian and Fleckvieh of this Cantabrian farm walk on the pastures as the characters of Rohmer’s tales wander: calm. From that tranquility comes the raw cream that in a few hours, and only with time as a ferment, will become the organic butter of Granja La Sierra.

His is a fresh butter, herbaceous when the pastures are – “in spring it tastes green”, says Alejandro García, in charge of the farm from Tezanos de Villacarriedo (Cantabria) -, and in which the nuts appear when the forage turns yellow. At La Sierra Farm, it is the stations that feed the cows.

Clara Díez is an absolute fan: “It is one of those butters that are practically cream but that maintain a great complexity of nuances. It is one of the most interesting that we have in Spain. His cows are constantly grazing in a super cool, humid and rich environment, which translates to the end result, which is fabulous. ” Three generations have been in charge of this family dairy factory that, in reality, is dedicated to yogurts. Their butter production is limited to the amount of cream left over from their skimming line. They have been organic since 1997 because “the quality of the milk is the quality of life of the cow.”

Price: 5.50 euros for 250 grams in organic products stores and specialized in cheeses. Accept orders through its website.

The Cantabrian that evolves over time. La Jarradilla (Tezanos, Cantabria)

Neither Francia nor Francio: in Cantabria making butter is part of their tradition – there are those ingots of sobaos pasiegos to prove it – and very close to Granja La Sierra is also the farm of La Jarradilla, where María Martínez Diego makes butter from Artisanal way from pasteurized milk from its Friesian cows, which is then naturally fermented and shaped by hand.

Livestock in origin, cheesemaker for three decades, that of the Diego family is, according to the gastronomer Claudia Gonzalez, “A butter with a lot of personality, with a dense, fantastic texture, which I associate with a break, with time, with weekend breakfast”. It is one of the favorites of this Cantabrian author of the notebooks Cantabria on the table of Montañés newspaper and not only because of its organoleptic characteristics, but “because it is a project with great value due to its connection with rural areas.”

La Jarradilla is a butter that tells stories, and not only those of the pastures, but also those of the women and children who beat the leftover cream for their own or local consumption. Here the palates got used to a more animal butter, an adjective that took on shine due to the time that passed since they made the butter and arrived in the villages to distribute it. The flavor of fat evolves and in the Cantabrian case, as in many others, something that is stale is not that something is spoiled, but that it becomes more complex: therein lies the appeal of this butter. How to enjoy it? Claudia has it clear: “A slice of toast with this butter and a Santoña anchovy on top is a delicacy of the gods.”

Price: 5.50 euros for 250 grams in gourmet shops and specialized in cheeses.

The Calaveruela sheep (Fuente Obejuna, Córdoba)

Some would say that you have to have courage to produce butter in the middle of the land of olive trees, but Juan Naranjo, the founder of Calaveruela in Fuente Obejuna -yes, Lope de Vega’s-, is clear about it: “Artisan producers are not our competition, our competitors are industrial products ”.

Their milk is from Laucane sheep that walk through the landscape of Córdoba like Taniguchi for Japanese and that, probably, feed better than many of us -not than Taniguchi-: “They feed on acorn, aromatic herbs, cereals and from the grass when winter comes. We cultivate the pasture for them. We are committed to improving their quality of life, ”says Naranjo.

This obviously carries over to their butter, which according to Rebeca Barainka, is simply “brutal”. It is the one they use in Galerna, your restaurant in Donosti, when they don’t make their own from latxa sheep’s cream (yes, from Idiazabal). They make this Cordoba butter travel to the north because “it is much more subtle, less fat and more melting”. Rebeca talks about creaminess, umami, “aromas and memories of the farmhouse”. And that is what it is about, “to maintain the essence of things”.

Price: 5.25 euros for 250 grams in your online store, gourmet shops and specialized in cheeses.

The one with raw goat milk from El Bucarito (Rota, Cádiz)

In Rota, Cádiz, not only the sea rules; also the flowery goats that – with those eyes that always seem to look elsewhere – keep cheese production in the province well at bay. At the El Bucarito farm, Yolanda Maya and her family have been able to translate the bleating of the goats into excellent cheeses and raw milk butter that ferment naturally.

They started working in 2011 and have 17 hectares of grasses, legumes and clovers where goats graze freely. They feed on these pastures and also on a compound that they make themselves from cereals – corn, soybeans, barley – from their own or local cultivation, a commitment “to the circular economy”.

“The climate of Cádiz provides its salinity,” adds Maya, “which is perfectly complemented by the sweetness of flowery goat’s milk and a touch of acidity.” At first glance, its whiteness is surprising, natural given its goat origin. Also its subtlety: the expected blow to the palate is replaced by a placid milky kiss from the end of the film. It is unctuous, not like other industrial companies in which putting the knife in is quite a feat and many restaurants in the area are already raffling it, such as Appointing, Mantúa or The lighthouse.

It is one of those that encourages you to add a final touch of butter to each dish that, as Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher wrote, “is not something necessary, but it is pleasant in the right sense of the word, so eating is not just a physical function, such as breathing or defecating, but rather a pleasant and almost intellectual satisfaction of the senses ”. If you did not know her and you have a weakness for goat cheeses -like the one she signs-, I just gave you the gift of last Christmas.

Price: 3.15 euros the 85 grams in your online store and in specialty cheese shops.

Do you know any other good artisan butter? Tell us about it in the comments and share your knowledge with other dairy fat fans.

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