Fontaine des Veuves Butter
Words By Patricia Michelson
Purchase Fontaine des Veuves ButterAs you may know LA FROMAGERIE is passionate about good, well actually great butter! Along with Bordier we also champion LA LAITERIE CO-OPERATIVE DE PAMPLIE, based in Charente-Poitou, West France, one of the last producers of raw milk cultured butter in France, made under the Fontaine des Veuves label.
This is a truly wonderful butter, characterised by a light aroma, mild acidity and delicious rich and full bodied taste and texture. This is the result of a cream that has not undergone any heat treatment as you would for Pasteurised milk.
The milk arrives warm from the milking parlour, and then goes into refrigeration (4oC), to conserve it before churning. It should also be noted that the milk comes from a co-operative of designated farms in an area 80km across. Cattle graze primarily on pasture, only having an additional feed (grown on the farm) in the few winter months when the cold weather necessitates it.
Bacteriological analysis is carried out as soon as the milk arrives at the factory, and after rapid storage in a tank, a new analysis is carried out before the milk skimming phase. The cream obtained is used for the manufacture of butter.
A crucial step is that the cream matures for a number of hours, during which selected lactic ferments are added for the development of the aromas of the butter, conservation and the lovely delicate acidity in the final product.
The cultured cream is then churned to be transformed into butter. It is at this point that any additions of Fleur de Sel from Ile de Ré are made. The butter is then packaged.
Charente Poitou butter has a lighter more elegant quality than similar Normandy butters due to the climate and pasture, and perfect for pastry and cooking, especially sauces. However, raw milk butter is best enjoyed in its ‘raw’ state to take advantage of its delicious aromas and silky texture.
Do as Nigella Lawson has written, double spreading on toast – first when the toast is hot and the butter melts and another when the toast has cooled down and the butter adheres to the surface.
The one thing to remember is that raw milk butter will not keep as long as pasteurised milk butter, therefore take note of the date on the pack, but it can be frozen in smaller blocks for up to 3 months to use as required.
If you are wondering what happens to the residue milk, that goes into curds, fromage blanc, fromage frais, etc.