Mudita Journal

Taking time to smell the butter

November 17, 2011 · Filed under: Health

Earlier this month I relocated to Malta, chiefly for its English-speaking culture, beautiful sights, and sunny weather — ranked #1 in the world for its desirable climate per International Living. I’m liking it a lot so far, though I’ve scarcely begun to explore the island properly.

Among other things, living in a new country always entails discovering new brands of my favorite ingredients — which can be good or bad, depending on what I find. Presently I have three different brands of butter in my fridge. Lately I eat a lot of butter because it’s better for your brain as well as your heart. And I only buy real butter, no blends, “light” butters, or margarine.

Today while making my eggs I noticed that, even while cold, an Italian butter labeled burro prateria (“grassland butter”) by Brazzale S.p.A. smells incredibly sweet and fragrant. That inspired me to smell another brand I bought in a pinch last week, an Irish butter by Kerrygold, which entirely lacks that sweetness and frankly has overtones of manure, once I stop and smell it closely.

I am fascinated by the difference. I had never even paid much attention to the smell of butter. I would assume the sweet brand smells sweet for a reason — and not because they added sugar (which they didn’t, and it wouldn’t change the smell even if they did). I wonder if it was made from cows raised on a healthier free-range diet, for example. In any case, I take the smell as a very good sign of its quality.

This inspired me to actually taste the butter directly, by putting a small slice in my mouth rather than just using it as a way to cook other stuff. And the Italian Burro tastes incredibly clear and creamy, while the Irish Kerrygold tastes strong and faintly unpleasant. In fact, the Burro tastes so good I can eat it straight from the package. The actual flavor isn’t that sweet, just very clear, smooth, pleasant. It’s a minor kind of delicacy, and reminds me of the first time I tried cocoa nibs or unsweetened licorice tronchetti.

So what does the butter in your refrigerator smell like? For fellow butter connoisseurs, what is your favorite brand of butter and why?

UPDATE: In the weeks after writing this, I found additional information about Kerrygold butter, learned that it is 100% grassfed, and became a huge fan of their unsalted butter. Now it is the only butter I eat. 🙂

  • Peter Saint-Andre

    Congratulations on your move to Malta!

  • Peter Saint-Andre

    Congratulations on your move to Malta!

  • o yeah, That’s great news.