Churning out the good stuff

It’s asparagus season again and I for one, can’t wait to indulge over the next six weeks in one of the Cotswolds’ finest exports. But, as much as I love the ‘green gras’, it got me thinking about how much I love the butter that goes with it? After all, the two do go hand in hand.


In Britain, we love butter. We slather it on our bread and sandwiches, churn it into our cakes and fry it in our cooking. We have it on everything. I’d go so far as to say that for some people it’s like background noise – people just layer it on everything. It doesn’t necessarily add to the taste of your sandwich, you do it because, well, it’s butter, and that’s what you do!

However, I’m not in that camp. For me, butter is more of a treat, to be enjoyed for what it is. I’m now selective about when I have it (blame a middle aged waistline for that) and when I do, it needs to be part of the main feature, not the supporting cast. Which is why I’m thinking about the butter I’ll be using for my asparagus this year.


You see, not all butter tastes the same. The butter we often absent-mindedly spread over everything is a world away from what I call ‘real butter’. I’m talking hand-crafted, churned butter, using the finest Cotswolds cream and a generous sprinkling of sea salt. The stuff you can literally slice with a knife and enjoy on its own, it’s so damn good. That’s real butter and I’d say it’s well worth putting a better bit of butter on your knife this asparagus season – sorry, corny, but I couldn’t resist!


Netherend Farm Butter

If I want good butter, this is the place I go. The distinctive gold wrappers give each butter roll the air of a precious golden ingot, a sign that when you unwrap said roll, you’ll uncover something special! And that’s what this butter is, special. I’m not the only one who thinks so which  is why it’s used by some of the best chefs in some of the best restaurants in the country, such as Langham’s, Claridge’s and One Aldwych London.

The company say this is ‘butter like proper butter used to taste’ and it’s definitely got an air of sentimentality about it. From the butter rolls (rather than more modern day cubes) to its very texture, this butter screams of things done the good old way. Break apart one of the butter rolls and inside you’ll find a jagged, irregular surface, resembling crystals – who knew this was one of the key appearances of good quality butter?

Cotswold Butter

Another contender for the title of ‘butter as it used to taste’ is Cotswold Butter. Recognising a hole in the market for good Cotswold butter, the founders, Quentin and Mark, set about creating a butter that ‘tasted like it did in the ’70s’. It proved popular and is now stocked in 150 stores around the country.

Doubly churned using fresh cream from the Cotswolds and the West Country, this butter has an exceptional creamy quality. Just one more ingredient is added – a generous pinch of Welsh salt – which lifts the flavour just the right amount. For me, this is the ideal butter to spread in thick layers over fresh unsalted bread, the ideal base for good butter.