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luizhorta

Butter

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I need to find the best (or the top, say 3 or 4, best) butters in France. Artisanal or industrial producers welcome. I am writing an article on butter, but beyond the 2 very common that are imported here in Brazil, don't know any other. Thank you all.

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Where in France are you located?

The answers may be very different depending on where you are.

In Paris, go to any of the great fromagers (Dubois, Cantin, Alleosse) and ask for "beurre à la motte" from Normandy or Brittany. You can also get some Bordier butter, packaged, in the gourmet food stores like La Grande Epicerie.

But the best stuff is to be sought locally in Normandy or Brittany, on small market stalls, wrapped in parchment paper. In the départements of Finistère, Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor, the farm butter from Laiterie de Saint-Coal is one of the best butters I know of. You'll find it in any supermarket.

Last week I found a marvellous farm-made Norman butter on the Clos Saint-Marc market in Rouen, but any bi- or three-weekly street market in Normandy (Seine-Maritime, Eure, Calvados, Orne, etc.) will equally yield great quality butter.

That is for traditional-style butter, the smelly type. If you want the modern-type butter — dry, white and clean, smelling faintly of cream (the Echiré type), that is much easier to find.

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Échiré is very nice but not representative of French butter.

It is a semi-industrial brand made from pasteurized milk in a region that never had a tradition of butter-making before the phylloxera plague of the 1870s. Large surfaces of former vineyards were then converted into meadows and butter-making was adopted as a replacement activity. Like all other butters from the Charentes region, the butter is of good quality (especially for baking, I'll come to that later), but by no means has the distinctive taste and flavor of the real country butters from the traditional butter-making regions of Normandy and France, and to some extent Auvergne, Bresse, and Lorraine.

However, since it is very dry from being drained through an industrial process, it is perfect butter for baking and particularly for puff pastry. Pierre Hermé uses only La Viette butter, which is another Charentes butter with a very dry and dense texture.

Among other Charentes butters, Maillezais, Surgères and especially Pamplie are also good. If you can come acrosse Vendée and Nantais butter this is excellent too, but hard to come by.

As for Norman butters, unfortunately the industrially-packaged Isigny butters, though of good quality, have none of the character of farm butter from the same region and are not very different from their Charentes counterparts. Breton brands like Le Gall do a better job of respecting the original butter typicity.

The very best butter in France, again, has to be found at markets, crèmeries and fromageries.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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The best I've been able to find in New York is Celles-sur-Belle, which I prefer to most of the European and domestic European-style butters I've tried here, but I'm sure it doesn't compare to what can be found locally, handmade in small batches.

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Celles-sur-Belle is pretty hard to find even here, except locally. It is an Echiré-type butter of very good quality.

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You're in Brazil? So are you writing your piece about which French butters one can find in Brazil? Or just butter in general...


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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You're in Brazil?  So are you writing your piece about which French butters one can find in Brazil?  Or just butter in general...

I need that clarification, too!

What Ptipois had to say was very insightful, but I'm not sure what the OP needs.

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I'm writing, in fact my newspaper's food and wine section is, an article about butter in general, specially those found here, not many, with an odd local contribution, "manteiga de garrafa", a bottled liquid one, used in many dishes in northern Brazil.

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I'm writing, in fact my newspaper's food and wine section is, an article about butter in general, specially those found here, not many, with an odd local contribution, "manteiga de garrafa", a bottled liquid one, used in  many dishes in northern Brazil.

So your original question was probably so that you could write a sentence something like, "although in France, blah blah blah are generally considered to be the best....."

Right?


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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More or less, I had an ilusion that I would find a better offer here, comparable to the one we have with wines, but was deeply dissapointed, found only 10 different butters from abroad, and the french in the market are President and Bridel, nothing else. so we will have to conform to what you said, "in France, bla bla". Thanks!

I'm writing, in fact my newspaper's food and wine section is, an article about butter in general, specially those found here, not many, with an odd local contribution, "manteiga de garrafa", a bottled liquid one, used in  many dishes in northern Brazil.

So your original question was probably so that you could write a sentence something like, "although in France, blah blah blah are generally considered to be the best....."

Right?

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For what it's worth, I haven't found Echire in stores, but only in some very, very good restaurants where I've been inclined to ask (Robuchon in Vegas, and Joel in Atlanta, which is one of the best restaurants here).

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I am surprised no one has mentioned Jean-Yves Bordier's ubiquitous butter. Probably because he doesn’t need any more publicity. His butter is served at most of the best restaurants in Paris and you can find it at some cheese shops as well. If you Google it you will find a wealth of information in both French and English.

I do think it is very good, however I wish they would give other producers a chance, as Ptipois points out, there are many wonderful butters in France. I love the butter I buy at my market but can't remember the name and unfortunately I am out.

We had a butter tasting some time ago and the results can be found here


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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I do think it is very good, however I wish they would give other producers a chance, as Ptipois points out, there are many wonderful butters in France.  I love the butter I buy at my market but can't remember the name and unfortunately I am out.  here

It is precisely for that reason that I did not mention Bordier butter. I am a bit sick of seeing so much publicity about it while there are quite a few butters in the Northwestern regions that are far better than Bordier's, and besides Bordier has a style of its own and IMO is not representative of what Norman or Breton butter can really be.

The fact that a trendy restaurant like Sa.qua.na in Honfleur (in the heart of Normandy) serves Breton butter and nobody seems to find that surprising shows that the expertise on French butters is in a very early stage of its development, to be optimistic.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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How do you qualify butter from Pascal Beillevaire?

Hi, Margaret, I do not know of this one, at least not through its author's name. Where is it made and where do you find it?

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I agree with Ptipois; the best butter I ever had was at Fromagerie François Olivier in Rouen. It was sold from a big wooden crock and was quite salty...and incredibly delicious. I wish I could buy it here, or a similar butter. I think because these butters aren't widely distributed, and folks who don't live in or visit Paris, can't get them, they don't get the publicity that Bordier gets.

(Beillevaire butter is available in their shops around Paris. The first time I had it was at le Jules Verne and the maître d told me I could buy it in their stores. It was v. good, however it wasn't quite the same, so perhaps they get butter made for them.)

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How do you qualify butter from Pascal Beillevaire?

Hi, Margaret, I do not know of this one, at least not through its author's name. Where is it made and where do you find it?

Actually, I have never found it. I seem to remember that Roellinger switched to Beillevaire from Bordier before finally purportedly making his own.

eGullet member #80.

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How do you qualify butter from Pascal Beillevaire?

Hi, Margaret, I do not know of this one, at least not through its author's name. Where is it made and where do you find it?

Actually, I have never found it. I seem to remember that Roellinger switched to Beillevaire from Bordier before finally purportedly making his own.

The butter is produced in Machecoul (well, I guess...) in Loire Atlantique, and sold at Pascal Beillevaire shops which are present in Brittany, Pays de Loire, Poitou-Charentes and Paris.

I also saw his butter at Marie-Anne Cantin's fromagerie last week.

I bought some once, and found it really good indeed, and closer to Norman butters than Charentais ones, but I don't remember it that well.

edit: Pascal Beillevaire has got a website which lists of his shops' locations http://www.pascalbeillevaire.net/


Edited by olivier (log)

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Now I remember I very probably tried the Beillevaire butter at Le Divellec's restaurant. When I asked the chef where the butter came from, he said "from someone in Vendée". There are not many Nantais/Vendée butters in Paris starred restaurants, so that must have been the one. I found it very good indeed, very fresh-tasting with the density of flavors of Norman butters, as you describe.

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....Pascal Beillevaire....I also saw his butter at Marie-Anne Cantin's fromagerie last week....

Aha! Thanks for the good tip.


eGullet member #80.

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