Forget your oh-so healthy olive oil and your flavourless low-fat spreads – there’s nothing like butter for adding a delicious extra oomph to a dish. From a simple slice of toast to a cockle-warming baked potato to the finest pastries and the glossiest sauces, le beurre really is the crème de la crème!

It may not always be easy to get your hands on the finest French butters in your local supermarket, so we have taken a look at three varieties offered by online specialist store iGourmet.

PRÉSIDENT

Président butter was founded in 1933 by André Besnier in Laval in the Loire Valley. Besnier named it because, he said, everyone in France was a president of something: “La France est le pays des Présidents, tout le monde est président! De l’association de pêche, des boulistes, des anciens combattants.”

It’s perhaps the best-known French butter brand around the world, sold in 160 countries and counting. And of course, they also make some rather well-known cheeses. Available salted or unsalted, it’s great for baking, as well as slathering on a crusty baguette.

Isgny butter

ÉCHIRÉ AOP

The most expensive butter in the world (you can buy it on Amazon for £14.50 for 250g), Échiré raises the bar to a whole new level.

The dairy was founded in 1891 by one Monsieur du Dresnay, on the banks of the Sèvre Niortaise river in the heart of the village of Échiré.

Beloved of Michelin chefs and gourmet restaurants around the world, the milk used to make it comes from around 60 farmers all within a 60km radius of Échiré, in the Deux-Sèvres département of western France.

Since day one, the butter has been manufactured in teak barrel-type churns, giving it a unique texture. Some 22 litres of milk are required to make one kilogram of butter, which is matured for a total of 18 hours. The cream-churning lasts for 2.5 hours, resulting in a soft, delicate texture and a hazelnut flavour. A master butter maker oversees the whole process… it’s no wonder it has AOP status!

Tokyo has a Maison du Beurre, a store dedicated entirely to Échiré. Check out its website for instructions on how to eat it properly, especially if you’re a first timer!

BEURRE D’ISIGNY AOP

Isigny has been at the centre of the butter trade for several centuries. In the late 1700s, reports say around 100,000 jars of butter worth 1.5m francs were sold at the port city. By 1868, 1.3m kilograms were being shipped from here.

In 1839, the writer Courchamps wrote: “The best [butter] that can be used in Paris comes from Isigny. In winter, (…) this butter has a nutty taste that is special to it, with a creaminess that makes it distinguished in all stews.” 

Still made according to traditional methods, Isigny butter is known for its golden buttercup colour, which is due to its rich carotenoid content, and its creamy taste. Délicieux!

FINAL TASTE BANNER

16 COMMENTS

  1. Rubbish!! Delighted to note Tesco in Ireland has started stocking Beurre d’Isigny in the last three weeks. I can’t travel to France because of covid restrictions, but now can enjoy my favourite butter without travelling.

  2. I tried several brands from New Zealand and I am very sorry to say that they Do not compare to the French butters in any form or taste.
    The creaminess is lacking and they are very bland. I am a real amateur of butter and NOTHING compare to the French taste unless you have no palate.

  3. Sorry Gunner, French butter is far superior to the New Zealand Anchor butter we get in britain, but I must admit, New Zealand butter is far superior to the sort of dross britain produces. So, French butter is best!

    • I have to agree Peter, british butter is rather poor – something to do with the type of cow, or is it the need to increase the profits of the big supermarkets that force the farmers to compromise on quality? Water is a cheap addition to the product!

    • Hi Bonnie, you are correct there is no Bordier butter in this article! However, it is a great suggestion and perhaps we’ll add it in the next article. Thank you so much 🙂

  4. French butter is so good because it has a higher fat content than other butters, and is usually lightly fermented. Good ones contain only milk products, culture, and salt. My local grocery in France has at least 2 dozen brands, salted and unsalted, of which President is simply low cost. We like Bon Mayennais. When at home in the US, we use Plugra, a French-style butter made in Texas, or the Danish Lurpak.

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