Because there are so many fancy butters on the market, deciding which brand to splurge on is incredibly difficult — and costly.
I assembled five tasters, including myself, for a blind taste test. The butters were chosen randomly based on availability from local stores such as Publix, Fresh Market, Whole Foods and Star Provisions.
All butters were served at room temperature. We started with rolls, but eventually switched to our fingers since the bread got in the way.
Plugrá (Unsalted) $2.99/pound. This butter is a “European-style” butter made by Keller's Creamery in Texas. It had the creamiest mouthfeel of the bunch. One person remarked it tasted “like butter should taste.” It’s also one of the cheapest on our list and available at most grocery stores. www.kellerscreamery.com.
Meyenberg Goat Milk Butter $7.40/8 oz. The snow-white color of this butter had some of my tasters a bit wary. The goat milk butter — made in Turlock, Calif. — has won four first-place awards at the American Cheese Society’s annual cheese competition. While made with goat milk, the Meyenberg is clean rather than barnyardy. Our tasters called it “cheese-like” and “pleasantly fatty.” www.meyenberg.com.
Kerrygold (Salted) $4.99/8 oz. If you know your butter, this golden yellow Irish import is easy to spot. Kerrygold is a small farm co-op, which means they get their milk from local farmers. The butter is made with milk from grass-fed cows, but retains few grassy notes from the milk. Two tasters chose this as their No. 1 because it had a “nice balance of sweetness and salt.” www.kerrygold.com.
Échiré (Demi-sel) $7.00/8 oz. The sole French — and second most expensive — of the butters. The butter was oilier and much lighter (i.e., not creamy enough) than you’d expect from a French dairy employing an old-school teak churn. www.echire.com.
Lenker Butter $11.50/500 grams. This Swiss butter, which I purchased from Star Provisions, was the most expensive. But the tasters’ were turned off because it was “too greasy,” “lacked any discernable favor” and “not creamy at all.” www.lenk-milch.ch.
Sparkman’s Cream Valley Butter (Unsalted) $7.25/pound. Sparkman’s butter is a relative newcomer to the market. It’s made in Moultrie, Ga., from Jersey cow milk. Tasters thought Sparkman's was “waxy,” “too funky” and “not creamy enough.” www.sparkmanscreamvalley.com.
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