Have you ever done a butter tasting?
A what? I hear you ask? It's a tasting of different butters, including butter products like creme fraiche and buttermilk, to compare their flavours. There was also bread to eat the butter with; we didn't just have spoons of butter.
I did one last July at the King Valley Dairy, formerly the Myrtleford Butter Factory, in Victoria, Australia.
It was good, I especially loved the salted butter with pink crystal rock salt, and the truffle, and confit garlic flavoured butters. Yum. The buttermilk was also heavenly; the only real Australian buttermilk that I've seen. After the tasting, we went into the "churn room" to see, unsurprisingly, the milk churned into butter and other products.
I learned a lot about butter and its production here. Such as, the butter fat content should be as high as possible, at least 80% (check the label the next time you buy butter). This is natural fat content of the milk. Grass-fed cows produce a higher milk fat content. Colour is another indicator: grass fed cows produce yellow, creamy butter, as opposed to indoor, grain fed cows whose butter can be almost white.
I also learned that in Australia, as I imagine is the case in most dairy-producing countries, the majority of supermarket butter is mass produced during spring - when cows are calving and therefore producing milk - and then frozen. There are thousands of tonnes of packaged butter sitting in frozen shipping containers that keep supermarkets supplied year-round. Not exactly the picture of 'freshness' you may imagine.
King Valley Dairy's butter is different - it's made with fresh milk from grass-fed, outdoor cows, using traditional European cultures. It's not the only organic, cultured butter in Australia.
If you've found this post interesting, read my full Cultured Butter story here.
And if you are in north west Victoria, I'd definitely recommend visiting the King Valley Dairy. (There are also wineries in King Valley!). The dairy have only recently opened their new property and are starting online sales again. I bought a collection of their goodies online for a friend's birthday in September last year (the $25 postage means you may as well buy big) and it was very well received. Organic, cultured butter through the mail - check it out, Australians.
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, Squarespace web designer and blogger currently living in Vientiane, Laos. She is passionate about helping freelancers and small businesses get online with web design and content, blogging and her awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, content, SEO, web design and "all that online stuff". She also writes food and travel articles for businesses and magazines, and blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.