It’s true that on social media recently I compared some butter to a Swedish boy. A Swedish boy who was once living next door with his family as a house-swap with our neighbours and who was beautiful and earnest and wholesome-looking and really good at drawing and whom I quite wanted to kiss. Perhaps this comparison seems a bit crazy. Perhaps a lot crazy. But…..BUTTER.
I like to think that my love affair with dairy stems from the fact that one of my grandfathers was a milkman. But probably I am just like most other New Zealanders who adore it simply because we make such damn good dairy. Unfortunately for me that third child of mine seems to have a kind of colic that may be exacerbated by it. I refuse to believe it. I should say – I prefer to believe arguments that refute it. My doctor says it’s an unlikely cause (he’s such a good doctor) but my intuition tells me I should probably cut back. I’m not actually a small calf after all. So I currently (begrudgingly) try to avoid cream, milk and yoghurt. Those are my concessions. But…..BUTTER.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Lewis Road Creamery, the company that sent the entire nation into a chocolate milk frenzy. Their plain milks are just as delicious though Matt would probably sell a limb for the Heilala vanilla-flavoured milk if there was even the whiff of a sudden shortage. The partnerships Lewis Road have struck with Whittakers (Chocolate), Supreme (Coffee) and Heilala (Vanilla) are genius. [Thanks Vanilla Ice but if anyone can collaborate and listen it’s Lewis Road] The new Lewis Road ice-cream range is also so fabulous I walk swiftly past it in the supermarket, eyes averted. The rose, for example, is so delicate and divine it is as though someone gently brushed the dew from freshly bloomed buds in pale, new moon light to acquire the flavour. But for me…you know where this is going…BUTTER.
Up until recently I was convinced that butter was just about the most perfect product. Is there anything better than butter on a ham sandwich? On hot toast? On a scone? Paired up with Bonne Maman jam like some kind of comparison erotica between that Swedish house-swap kid all grown up and handsome + Marion Cotillard? [I may have pushed the boundaries there. Ahem, I digress.] But, I did have one problem with butter. Spreading. So much of a problem I bought Lewis Road for all my baking needs but *ashamed-face* Lurpak Spreadable for sandwiches. Because it is spreadable. [The brand-name-person over at Lurpak did a good job there] I ignored that Lurpak Spreadable is made with vegetable oil. I ignored that it is not New Zealand dairy. I was consumed by my consumption needs. I simply could not wait for my Lewis Road butter, firm from the fridge, to get soft before slathering it on bread. I needed it fast. I needed it now. And I wasn’t putting up with cold, hard, butter. But then….BUTTER BELL.
I’ll admit that I walked past the Lewis Road Butter Dishes / Butter Bells on sale in the supermarket. The price-tag seemed a little hefty. Plus, I was still blinded by my conviction that butter, whilst making everything better, could not get better itself. Could it?? It seemed like too much to ask. Fresh, local, spreadable butter without vegetable oil? Surely not. But, fortunately, I was horribly wrong. If I had known I could have been eating fresh, spreadable New Zealand butter for weeks now, heck, possibly years, if I’d stumbled across the traditional french version, called a beurrier, earlier. I know it seems overstating it to say that a butter dish has changed my life but…A BUTTER DISH HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.
It might seem a bit strange and complicated, simply because we are unused to transferring our butter into another container and not putting it in the fridge, but I swear to you those are the only two “unusual” steps. In fact, they are the only two steps! (I am lying, you add about one centimetre of water to the dish, I am getting carried away with convincing you of the simplicity). The lid is the butter dish which is turned upside down to be sealed and kept fresh by the surrounding container and the cool water you put in, which only needs to be changed about every three days or so. Here is an explanation. And a superbly cheesy demonstration. The lovely, fresh, local butter is spreadable. Every. Single. Time. I. Am. Not. Joking. And possibly even more impressive than the ease of use is the taste you get from your butter which is no longer cold and hard and unloved. Butter from a butter bell is butter the way butter is supposed to be. It is, my friends, better butter.
In my excitement (baby-induced-sleep-deprivation-manic-over-enthusiasm) I emailed Lewis Road to tell them how in love I was with their new product. I may have used one too many exclamation marks and I may have sent my email at 4am. Thankfully I am no stranger to the Lewis Road crew; they are familiar with my dairy devotion and they happen to be gracious and generous folk. They thanked me for my “kind” (crazy) feedback. Then they told me that the butter dish was particularly good for storing their new butter. The one with french sea salt crystals – had I tried it?
I’m sorry….WHAT? Did you just say BUTTER WITH FRENCH SEA SALT CRYSTALS?
Well, you can see where this is heading. They confirmed that yes, their new butter is made with Guerande sea salt crystals and yes, it goes very well in their new butter dish and yes, it stays spreadable all the time with no vegetable oil added and tastes like that sparkles emoji paired with that shooting star emoji and gives you all the thumbs up and heart-eyes emoji feelings. I died. Like a Taylor Swift fan. Right there. Dead.
Rousing myself from my dead-ness I proceeded to blather about how wonderful this new butter discovery was. Not just because it’s salt and butter, but because it’s french sea salt with butter and Guerande sea salt at that which is so amazing because it is Guerande sea salt butter which is mentioned in my book A FRENCH WEDDING and used in the making of the pastry ‘kouign amann‘, also mentioned in the book, which will be served at the New Zealand launch for the book, this week. Many more exclamation marks were included. God only knows how the good folk at Lewis Road managed to read my rambling communications or make sense of them but somehow they did and, not only that, asked me if I wanted some of the new butter to try. And, if I fancied it, if they could send that very same butter to the people at Bread & Butter Bakery to use for the making of the book launch kouign amann. Would I like that? Oh, sure, I guess, I replied (hahahahaha. More like YES!! OMG YES!!) But, get this, then they asked if YOU would like to try some. And if YOU would like a Lewis Road Butter Dish.
So would you? Would you like some Lewis Road sea salt crystal butter? Would you like a Lewis Road Butter Dish to store it in? Would you like your life up-levelled in a way that only emoji and clusters of exclamation marks can describe? And would you like to pair the butter and the butter dish with a signed copy of A FRENCH WEDDING to read or gift at your leisure? I know what you are thinking. But…really? But…truly? But…BUTTER? Oui. Really, truly. All you have to do is head over to the Hannah Tunnicliffe facebook page to check out how to enter and one lucky duck will be winning all that (plus a little surprise extra) within the week. That’s right. Life is good but it could be about to get even butter…
Love, Hannah x