Butter, for me, is the best way to introduce visitors to the Irish flavours in food. You name it, we add butter to it. Nowadays, of course you can get any amount of flavoured butters. And recently we decided to have a tasting lunch. (Any excuse!!)
We got a selection, of what I would call, gourmet types from Ardkeen Stores. We knew we would definitely get a good selection as they always support Irish brands of quality. The Abernethy selection just looked so inviting. And I’ve had a penchant for the Glenilen one anyway. I love the texture and mouthfeel. Which sounds a bit poncy, but this kind of product is a little posh, if the truth be told.
My ever resourceful husband put each on a plate with a different coloured knife so that we would know which we were tasting. The other pre-requisites were blaas and my own brown bread.
I think the colour of the butter is very important. And this is, for me, an indicator of the quality of the product. It generally has a pale golden colour from the Irish Cream that goes into it , but varies from deep yellow to nearly white, depending on the country of origin. Its unmodified colour is dependent on the animals’ feed and is often, unfortunately manipulated with food colourings in the commercial manufacturing process, most commonly carotene or annatto. But back to pleasantries: (In no particular order)
I lovely smokey flavour which worked on both types of bread, and would be gorgeous, we felt with some fish. A really Irish taste as far as I was concerned.
This was such a gorgeous colour, and although it was the first to be eaten, it was just because it was a familiar, homely flavour that we all know and love.
Handcrafted Butter (Glenilen)-
As a small disclaimer, I’ve had this butter before. Very regularly. I really love it. It’s my sandwich butter of choice. And it didn’t disappoint in the tastings either.
Dulse & Seasalt-
This was the winner for us on the “lunch tasting”. I think, in part, because of it’s unique flavour and look. I’m all about the foraging and local resources. And this just ticked all of those boxes.
However, I feel there can never truly be enough testing, so now I have an excuse to buy asparagus. Not that I need an excuse. well, maybe a small one when it’s not in season.
And the verdict? FABULOUS!