Written by Dalia Darweesh and Zahra Anwer
Experiencing France with Butter of Europe.
Starting in the heart of Paris, the French Dairy Board hosted an exploration trip to witness how dairy butter is made in France, starting off with a workshop on using butter in different dishes. Held at Atelier 750g and led by consultant chef Christophe Dovergne, who runs a catering and consultancy business, the workshop saw the team preparing and enjoying a 3 courses dinner of salmon in orange-flavored butter, chicken breast in tarragon butter with glazed carrots and buttery mashed potatoes and, finally a strawberry tart. In each course the butter was used in different ways, but always sublimating the ingredient and enhancing the taste of each dish.
The following morning, the group was taken to the production laboratory of Laiterie La Chapelle in the heart of Paris to meet with owner Paul Zindy and learn about making butter from local raw milk. The secret ingredient to a good butter is just good dairy cream as this is the only ingredient used, each participant had to experience a manual churn and make the magic happen!
On the third day, the group visited one of Echiré farms and its butter production site. The brand founded in 1984 is internationally recognized for its butter’s quality, taste, and very pliable texture, they are also known to be a “niche” and high-quality brand as they only produce 2000 tons of butter a year. The farm was owned and run by 3 generations of a same family , all moved by the same passion. We were then welcomed at the factory by Guillaume Ribadière, Sales and Marketing director and had the chance to observe the traditional butter making in a wooden churn, turning 25,000 liters into 925 kg of butter before tasting it.
The next visit took us to the production site of major butter exporter to the Middle East: Paysan Breton (Laita group), which is located in Brittany where the cows graze in the fields for at least 200 days a year! The yellow color of the natural dairy butter actually come from the milk and originally the grass and flowers that cows eat. Candice Lher, the Export Product Manager, explained to the team the production process of Laita butter, starting with the reception and pasteurization of cream. Maturation follows, and then the preparation of cultures, followed by the churning of butter, cooling and finally, packaging, storing and shipment worldwide.
An exciting journey to Marais Salants – Salt marshes was also organized to observe the salt and fleur de sel production that are then oftenly used to flavor butters.
The day after, the group visited butter artisan Jean Yves Bordier production facility, Bordier is known for its tradition and savoir-faire, their specialty is flavored butters. The group watched the process of blending and manually molding butter. They had the chance to try amazing creation by Bordier such as vanilla butter, Espelette pepper butter or even yuzu butter.
The trip ended on high notes with a dinner at Michelin-star Chef Eric Guérin “La Mare aux Oiseaux” restaurant where we understood that butter is also key in fine gastronomic cuisine as this is a subtle ingredient bringing smoothness and flavor to any dish, actually natural dairy butter can take every dish to the next level!