I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of butters after reading an article in Saveur about some French restaurant that paid more for their butter than their fois gras (or some ingredient).  I always kind of thought butter = butter.  As always, there was much I needed to learn.  I figured I’d need to go to a specialty shop, so I went over to Monsieur Marcel‘s in Farmer’s Market at 3rd & Fairfax.  I decided to try some French butter first.  They have a selection, but the one I opted for was President butter.

president butterThe butter really surprised me.  It was no small difference.  It made me a better cook just by using it.  It heats better.  You can get it hotter without it going funny.  It heats up more consistently.  It imparts it’s flavor to the food better.  And the flavor is tremendously better.  Trader Joe’s butter tastes like grease in comparison.  Not that there’s anything wrong with grease :-), but if you want butter, you need butter.

No surprise, I might add, that it’s a lot more expensive than Trader Joe’s butter.

Next I tried some Danish butter.  You know those Danes, they always make good stuff.danish butter The Danish butter was really interesting as well.  I found that it didn’t cook as well as the French butter, but it is heaven on bread.  We tend to have sourdough bread hanging around, and it is incredible on sourdough.  It has a sweet creamy taste and it spreads luxuriously over the bread.  It still cooks nicer than Trader Joe’s butter, and I have yet to experiment with it in baking, where I think it might fare very well, but for sauteing, I’d definitely stick with the French butter.

irish butterAs I said before, these butter do cost a bit more, so I decided to continue the experiment with a cheaper alternative, which is Irish butter.  I’ve found this to be quite nice as well; not as sweet as the Danish butter, not quite as cook on the saute pan as the French butter, but it’s very respectable and quite tasty, and much easier on the budget.

I’ve since found that my local Ralph’s actually carries all three of these butters, which is cheaper than getting them at Monsieur Marcel’s, much as I like going to Monsieur Marcel’s.

I will continue to experiment with butter.  I should really do some sampling of olive oils too, but that gets more costly.  It’d be fun to do an olive oil party, where everyone brings a bottle of good olive oil, and we all get to sample each one.  But I don’t know too many other people that manage to justify spending over $20 on a bottle of olive oil.  But as Marcella Hazan points out, even on an expensive bottle of oil, it’s only 40 or 50 cents for a tablespoon, and any dish will be better with better olive oil, and the better the oil, the better the dish.  Isn’t 50 cents worth improving the quality of your life?  🙂

Categories: Cooking

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