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REPORT: French Butter Tasting

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Thursday night twelve of us put together a solid effort at tasting a plethora of salted French butter. In total there were 16 butters (although two were from Pennsylvania). The butters ranged from basic Monoprix brands, to market butter scraped from an urn, to the much lauded Bordier. We tasted blind, and simply started by tasting the butter that was situated closest to us on a table filled with butter plates (pics coming soon). After two hours of smearing the pale yellow pats onto little nuggets of baguette, we all felt a little tired, a little nauseous, and a strange mix of being full and desiring a salad at the same time. Throughout the tasting we independently kept track of our favorites and (more importantly) our least favorites, then tallied those scores at the end. Here are the butters we tasted (with my notes) and how they ranked.

1. Buerre de Baratte AB: Dull, with an artificial texture and slightly bitter.

2. Monoprix Gourmet:Salty but nice mouthfeel, slightly bitter finish.

3. Payson Breton: Mild salting, creamy with a lasting oily mouthfeel.

4. Grand Fermage: Chunky bits of salt with a mild slightly oily finish.

5. Marie Morin: Strange funky taste, artificial and oily.

6. Bernard Gaborit (Beurre Cru): Hints of the ocean in the salt with a lasting creaminess.

7. Le Montsurais: Mild, not oily, not salty, almost no distinction.

8. Le Gall (P'tibio): Dull, mild, no mouthfeel.

9. Grand Fermage (Charentes Poitou): Boring! Tastes like nothing.

10. Echire:Sweet, with a nice milk taste.

11. Cantin:Tasted like the wax from baby bell cheese, hints of plastic, not good.

12. Hendricks (unsalted): Like a frozen popsicle of milk.

13. Gin Meadow: Tasted like cake batter, or that stage when you whip butter with sugar.

14. Bordier: Lot's of up front salt, but a mild finish.

15. a la Motte Sale:Salty and more grassy then the others.

16. Au Bon Beurre: Super salty, hard to taste anything else.

Let's start off the results with the big losers of the bunch.

5. Marie Morin: With nearly a unanimous vote, this was the WORST butter of the bunch. We bought this one at Galleries Lafayette Gourmet.

11. Cantin: With the second most votes for disliked butter, most people noted the plasticky and waxy taste.

And now the big winners of the night.

10. Echire: With 7 votes, more than half the people here voted this as the best of the bunch.

4. Grand Fermage: and 2. Monoprix Gourmet: Tied for second with five votes each.

9. Grand Fermage (Charentes Poitou) Rounded out the last of the top votes with four votes.

Interesting notes: The Bordier butter came in with three votes. The most contested butter was the 16. Au Bon Beurre which had three votes for favorite and four votes for least favorite.

I will let others ring in with their notes as well as information on the butters they brought.

Edited by BradenP (log)

"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."

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13. Gin Meadow: Tasted like cake batter, or that stage when you whip sugar with sugar.

Thanks Braden for such a fun time. I really liked #13 ... there was this very distinct "fresh cream" taste that I thought was special. Tat, and the fact that the texture was very light airy, made this my favorite of the bunch.

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Here is a link Butter Tasting Gallery to pics from the butter tasting including the labels of each of the butters we tasted. All of the pics were taken by Gullet member ajgnet.

"When planning big social gatherings at our home, I wait until the last minute to tell my wife. I figure she is going to worry either way, so I let her worry for two days rather than two weeks."

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