Oh butter, how I love you so. Yet I never knew our love could deepen and evolve the way it has over the last couple of months. Because of you, I'm more open to receive and feel gratitude...
My love for butter has evolved because I never knew what I was missing. Our popular American versions pale in comparison to how its been done for centuries in Europe. At Banner Butter, based in Doraville, Georgia, a talented team is creating quite the buzz by getting back to basics and crafting small batch, cultured butter. They are just one of a few retail cultured butter companies in the whole country.
As owner Elizabeth McBath explained, "Sweet cream butter (your standard grocery store variety) is pasteurized and immediately churned to kill both good and bad bacteria. Cultured butter is left to sit before churning so good bacteria grows and adds that rich butter taste. The butter you're used to eating, they artificially add that butter flavor back in."
Elizabeth, along with her husband Drew, hired executive pastry chef, Kat King to help them develop their recipes. They now focus on three compound flavors, plus a lightly salted, sea salt and unsalted butter, then of course, seasonal compound varieties for when the inspiration strikes.
Like the day of my visit when Mary Ellen Yupari, the Manager of Operations, just so happened to be trying out a new seasonal flavor of Georgia peach with local, organic honey, cinnamon and sugar. It smelled divine. I picked up the final result at the Grant Park Farmer's Market a few days ago and I have to say, although I may be partial, this is my new favorite.
Chefs, Catherine Weaver and Jennifer Weissman work beautifully as a team mixing, churning, washing, molding, weighing and packing Banner Butter rounds. They love working with cultured butter and talking about their process. It really makes a difference when you know your food is crafted with this much care and passion.
Cultured butter is so creamy and tasty, you often find yourself eating it like frosting from a cake. Elizabeth and Drew source their cream from Southern Swiss Dairy Farm in Georgia- from cows that are hormone free and grass fed. Each small batch at Banner takes 20 hours to make. It's a labor of love- can't you just tell?
Elizabeth is passionate about her butter and the way she works with her staff (whom adore her) lets me know even bigger and better things are on the horizon. Both her and Drew have found a new passion through their foray into the food world which has received rave reviews and incredible support. Elizabeth, "I feel more connected to community. We're making something really traditional and it grounds you in a special, beautiful way." Oh butter, who knew our love could get this good?