For Butter or Worse

| Boston Magazine |

Until recently, the only way to taste Animal Farm butter, a handcrafted spread from Orwell, Vermont, was to dine in one of chef Thomas Keller’s elite restaurants: Per Se, in New York, or the French Laundry, in Napa. But now the South End’s Butcher Shop has managed to siphon off some of the limited supply. Our tasting panel puts it head-to-head with five other New England varieties…


Until recently, the only way to taste Animal Farm butter, a handcrafted spread from Orwell, Vermont, was to dine in one of chef Thomas Keller’s elite restaurants: Per Se, in New York, or the French Laundry, in Napa. But now the South End’s Butcher Shop has managed to siphon off some of the limited supply. Our tasting panel puts it head-to-head with five other New England varieties.

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Cabot Unsalted

Description: A higher-fat version of the company’s salted butter.
Comments: “A little dullsville on bread, but good for baking cookies,” observed one taster. Most found it bland, “like the butter equivalent of Medford.” About $4.80 for 1 lb., Shaw’s.

Animal Farm

Description: Bright yellow and hand-kneaded, with strong buttermilk tang. Comments: The most controversial of the bunch. Half the panel praised its “cheeselike” flavor and “pure farm freshness”; others found it “a bit sour.” One panelist declared, “Sweet Lord! I wouldn’t oil my car with this.” $8.50 for 4 oz., the Butcher Shop.

Cabot Salted

Description: A classic stick of pale yellow butter.
Comments: A respectable contender, it elicited “nice, simple, and lightly salted” and “I wouldn’t kick this butter out of bed.” About $4.80 for 1 lb., Shaw’s.

Vermont Butter & Cheese Cultured Unsalted

Description: High-fat, crème fraîche–cultured.
Comments: The biggest crowd-pleaser: “nicely complex,” “good purity and a likable butteriness.” $5.25 for 8 oz., Formaggio Kitchen.

Vermont Butter & Cheese Cultured with Sea Salt Crystals

Description: A foodie favorite, cultured with crème fraîche and seasoned with sea salt.
Comments:
“This is my kind of butter! Seriously, I would bathe in this stuff,” said one taster. Others found it “too salty,” and like “popcorn butter.” $6.50 for 6 oz., Lionette’s Market.

Mendon Creamery Unsalted

Description: A small-batch product that also comes in maple, roasted garlic, and other flavors.
Comments: This entry failed to inspire. “Too slick,” said one panelist. “Nondescript,” noted another. $6.50 for 8 oz., Lionette’s Market.

Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2007/11/for-butter-or-worse/