Butter was actually another suggestion for a Taste Test post from a friend. It’s great: these days people just suggest products to me so I no longer have to come up with all the ideas myself. Crowd-sourced creativity. Anyway, butter is an excellent idea for one of these posts, because it’s the sort of thing I tend to buy without thinking and so it’s always good to explore what other options are out there, and challenge my unquestioned assumption that my preferred butter is a solid choice.

It should be noted that I go through a fairly serious amount of butter. There is a butter shelf in the door of my fridge which is, at all times, filled with a frankly shocking number of packs of butter. This is because I bake most days, and therefore have the basics in stock at all times (you should see the ‘baking cupboard’). So I have a vested interest in this.

Of course, when you’re baking with butter, you won’t massively notice the difference between different brands (although you definitely notice a difference between butter and fake butter). But when the quality of your butter really matters is when you are eating it on toast. I bake a lot of bread, and there are few things more delicious than a generous hunk of bread, warm from the oven, spread liberally with soft salted butter.

All these butter samples are salted, by the way. Partly for consistency, and partly because I never buy unsalted butter. And I ate it with bread, because even I can’t eat straight butter.

As before, I feel I need a rambling disclaimer: obviously, I am doing this in my kitchen and not in a lab and I am not a scientist. These are the opinions of one person – that said, one person who has been trained to taste for quality. Also, the products used in this series are just examples – obviously each supermarket has, say, eight or nine different types of butter or whatever the product may be, and I’m not going to try every single one because what am I, made of money?

Finally, I should highlight that I tasted all the products blind, and at the time of tasting and making my notes I didn’t know which product came from which shop. I sat in one room while my glamorous assistant (er, my husband), prepared the samples in another. Any notes added regarding packaging and so on were only done after blind tasting, when I learned which who had made product A, B, C, D, or E.

The Blind Taste Test: Butter

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Butter
100g
£
kcal
fat
carb
fibre
protein
salt
Waitrose
0.80
725
80
0.5
0
0.7
3.0
Trewithen
0.61
744
82
0.6
0
0.6
1.8
Isigny
0.80
725
80
0.5
0
0.7
2
Aldi Everyday
0.54
737
81
0.8
0
0.6
1.7
Lurpak
0.80
739
82
0.7
0
0.6
1.2
Tesco
0.64
745
82.2
0.6
0
0.6
1.5

A – Isigny Ste-Mere – 6/10

  • Quite noticably salty – a bit too salty, even for me, and I have a salt-tooth. A nice creaminess to it, but also seems a bit oily. Not bad, but not particularly interesting.

B – Aldi – Everyday Essentials – 5/10

  • Lighter in texture than A, and much less salty – kind of disappears in your mouth. A little saltiness at the end but no real flavour.

C – Waitrose – Brittany butter with sea salt crystals – 8/10

  • One of the thicker and more lightly coloured butters. Pleasantly creamy. A nice level of salt for my tastes. Has a noticeable ‘real butter’ taste.

D – Trewithen Dairy Cornish Butter – 7/10

  • Enjoyable to eat – a nice flavour to it and a good level of saltiness. My second favourite choice.

E – Tesco – 5/10

  • Very light, another butter that disappears in your mouth. A little salt on the finish but not much on the actual eating. Not quite enough flavour for me.

F – Lurpak – 5/10

  • A little oily, and a little bland. Not salty enough for me, although bear in mind I have a high salt tolerance.

Conclusions

First conclusion: bread and butter is tasty. I should stop with all the fancy stuff and eat more bread and butter.

None of these were terrible. If I was just eating nice bread with nice butter then, I’m afraid, I’d definitely go for the Waitrose option here, which is on the expensive end (although tied for most expensive with two others, including Lurpak, who are a big brand and which I found disappointingly bland). That said, my second favourite was Trewithen, and that was the second cheapest option.

If you’re buying butter to eat on bread, then go for the nice stuff. If you’re just cooking with it, it doesn’t really matter, because they are all fine. I still wouldn’t buy fake butter though.