Butter, butter, butter…

So, I will fulfil my promise and show you how seriously butter is taken in France. You would never have guessed how many classes and subclasses it is divided into!
I’m going to talk about pure butter, no margarine, no additives, pure dairy cream!
Here we go!

✔️ The most common, ordinary kitchen butter should have a fat content between 82-90 per cent (80 per cent is allowed for salted butter).
✔️ In a separate category is “raw” butter (beurre cru): this butter is made from raw cream without heat treatment. You remember that unpasteurised milk is very tolerant in France, don’t you? Well, that’s how butter can be made.
✔️ Tender butter (I’m not kidding, it’s called beurre extra-fin): butter made exclusively from cream that has not been frozen or deoxidised, produced within a maximum of 72 hours after the milk has been collected and a maximum of 48 hours after the milk has been skimmed. In other words, freshness, and only freshness!
✔️ Culinary butter (chef’s butter, beurre cuisinier): butter made exclusively from milk fat after complete removal of water; skimmed milk, cream and butter solids may be added. This butter contains at least 96% fat. If you think this is the maximum you can “squeeze” (literally) out of milk, look at the following option.
✔️ Concentrated butter (Beurre concentré): this is a cooking butter with a fat content of at least 99.3%!!!!
Next go the leaner “players”:
✔️ Three-quarter butter (or reduced-fat butter): a product with a milk fat content of at least 60 per cent and no more than 62 per cent.
✔️ Half butter, or light butter: a product with a milk fat content of at least 39% and not more than 41%.
✔️ Butter for spreading with X% fat content:
less than 39%: butter light;
41% – 60%: light butter;
62% – 80%: sandwich butter.
And that’s only if we’re talking about fat content. There are other types of butter as well.

For example, the French are very fond of salted butter. And if you go to Brittany, don’t even try to ask your hosts for sweet butter; it’s practically an insult for the rest of your life! (They can beat you with a crab’s claw. 🙂 This butter comes in salted and lightly salted versions. And to make the story even more complicated, they will also tell you about the origin of salt: salted butter of Guerande, salted butter of Noirmoutier, and don’t get it mixed up! And to finish, they’ll mention butters protected by appellation (AOP), no worse than wines and cheeses. There are three of them: butter from Charente-Poitou, butter from Bresse and butter from Isigny. And a variety of flavoured butters, which no amount of paper (and traffic) would be enough to list. My favourites are the ones with seaweed or yuzu.

Ugh, that’s it! You now have a better grasp of French classification than many French people. See you soon!

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