Finally, a Fab Australian Butter

Pepe Saya butter

How can I put this in a politically sensitive way, so that I don’t offend anyone’s patriotic zeal? How’s this – Australian butter is crap. Honestly, it is. In fact, the only thing worse than our crap, bland, brainless butter is the crappier, lobotomy-white, lazy-ass-whipped, flavourless butter that they serve in US supermarkets. If you love your butter, you’re probably buying French or Danish – I keep Lurpak on steady rotation in my fridge, only using the Australian butter for menial tasks, like making clarified butter.

But I’m not here simply to rant (not that there’s anything wrong with that) – I’ve actually got good news. I was at Brasserie Bread’s Banksmeadow headquarters to meet with social media mavens and food hounds, Tony Hollingsworth and Lorri Loca, when Tony introduced me to the Pepe Saya butter that they’re now stocking here. I tried a taste on a piece of cracking sourdough bread, and it send my brain a-tingling.

I have no friggin’ idea who Pepe Saya is, but Senior Pepe churns a mean ‘handcrafted’ cultured butter. We’re talking rich and satiny, with a wide taste spectrum that tilts ever slightly towards sour – not so much that it’d put you off, but rather a subtle tongue play that makes you think, ‘More, please’.

A little read-up on the Pepe Saya website, and I learn that this kind of cultured butter separates the cream from the pasteurised Aussie cow’s milk. Then a lactic culture is ‘inoculated’ into the cream, which ferments its and brings our the sourness. Think of only the mildest hint of Jarlsburg. “The fermentation process produces additional aroma compounds,” the site says, adding that it “makes for a full-flavoured and more ‘buttery’ tasting product.” Hell, I’m no butter-making guru, but this kneaded butter is the bees knees. I also discovered that Pepe Saya’s butter scored the gold and overall ‘Champions’ gongs at the recent 2010 Melbourne Fine Food Show, so I’m not the only one gong mental over Pepe’s lactic fabulousness.

It cost about $8.50 for me to walk away with a 225g round of the salted stuff (an unsalted version is also available), which is certainly more expensive that your normal 500g cheapo block, but way more satisfying. I’d rather butter my toast with a 20-cent lashing of the good stuff, rather than devour a 10-cent shmear of mediocrity.

So now that I’ve found my first example of decent Aussie butter, I’m wondering, are there any others out there? I recently overheard some food folks gossiping about some killer Jersey butter that’s going around, and then Googled a lightly salted Jersey butter from NSW’s Over the Moon Dairy in Glen William, from the Upper Hunter. It’s spruiked at Harris Farms and a bunch of area farmers’ markets, so I’ll keep my eyes peeled. Has anyone tried it, or found another notable Aussie butter? Feel free to post any suggestions, and together we can ‘spread’ the love.

Pepe Saya, pepesaya.com.au

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Anonymous on August 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Myrtleford, the butter factory. Hav’n some now, cultured with crunchy raw pink Victorian lake salt you can see :)
    YUM.

    Reply

  2. Sorry to comment on an old post, I have a questions in regards to the Harmonie organic butter.

    I don’t think it is a true 100% organic butter, on the back on the butter package it says that is only 80% organic blend which is kind of misleading if you are reading it from the top. Also it is using rapeseed oil (canola oil) which from what I have read is generally frowned upon.

    In the nutrition information trans fat is listed: per serving as 0.2 and per 100 grams as 2.0 and I am pretty sure that this is the bad synthetic trans fat? not the naturally occurring trans fat? Makes me wonder why anyone would buy this thinking that it is organic when it has trans fat in it.

    Ultimately, is this a safe butter to eat? Wouldn’t plain old regular butter be a better alternative? or of course as you mentioned above the Pepe Saya butter?

    Thank you.

    Reply

  3. Posted by JENN on May 24, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Saint Omer from Meander Valley Dairy, about to be launched and will be a winner!

    Reply

  4. Hello there!

    I stumbled upon your blog via Google. I live in Singapore and I’m looking for butter and cheese made from milk of organic, grass-fed cows. As my country has practically zero diary farm, and imports quite a bit (tonnes I’d say) of products from Australia, are there any good brands you’d recommend? Thank you!

    Reply

  5. At Bangalow Cheese Co. we have been making a delicious 100% natural hand made cultured butter for more than 2 years now. It has a fresh and milky character and a smooth texture that melts away in your mouth. We were awarded a silver medal at the 2010 Sydney Royal Show. Try it and you will love it!

    Reply

  6. FINALLY!!! Thanks for this post I’m so glad to hear about this butter. I’m going to pick some up next time I pick up my sourdough :)

    Reply

  7. Great summary Michael – I took Senor Pepe’s butter home and its fantastic – but being so fresh and free of preservatives, it does not stay fresh for long. Best to consume liberally amongst friends.

    Great to see you at lunch today – your passion for food and social media is inspiring: can you send me the photos from Mos Cafe today as I’d like to blog about it too. What a great day!

    Best,
    Tony Hollingsworth

    Reply

    • I totally know what you’re saying. You need to consume this stuff within a week or two. I used up the rest of mine in my cornbread that I baked for Thanksgiving yesterday. Yeah, fantastic to catch up as well – I’ll forward the photos shortly.

      Reply

  8. The Butter Factory in Myrtleford VIC are doing great things. Also – and please don’t cane me for saying this – but I’m not impartial to Harmonie organic butter found at Coles. Yeah yeah it’s supermarket and not artisian, but if you want a good quality butter available widely, than this is a very good choice. Not to mention, the benefits of buying and eating organic.

    Reply

    • Thanks Becki! Another Twitterer also pointed out The Butter Factory, so two great minds are definitely arousing my curiosity. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on it somewhere – not sure if it pops up across the Victorian border. I think I’ve tried Harmonie, and I’ll have another look as well. I vaguely remember it as being above-average, but not enough to make me second-guess grabbing that stick of Danish Lurpak. But maybe I’m just dreaming that happened :)

      Reply

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