Sunday, March 09, 2008

Andante Butter is in my kitchen right now

One Year to the Day After I first learned of its Existence

picture photograph image andante dairy butter 2008 copyright of sam breach

Exactly one year ago, on March 9th, 2007, I attended a special dinner with Alain Passard of L'Arpège at David Kinch's Manresa in Los Gatos. If you were to ask me what taste I remembered most from that particular meal, my answer would be the butter, about which I wrote at the time: "...a thick slab of the most wonderful butter ever seen on this side of the Atlantic. Hand churned by Soyoung Scanlan of Adante Dairy, it was a rare treat. To say we were eating it in cheese-like proportions wouldn't be an understatement.

Yesterday, my friends, whilst at the San Francisco Ferry Building Farmers' Market, I spotted carefully wrapped, blocks of something I hadn't seen before at the Andante stand. The small printed words "Butter Andante Dairy" caught my eye and I had to do all I could to maintain my composure and not scream "Oh My God" at the top of my lungs. This artisanal, cultured butter is made by hand by Scanlan for The French Laundry and I have never seen it for sale before. This butter is heavy, rich and intensely creamy, giving off a milky sweat and a mildly cheesy taste and smell.

Although, sadly, this market version is not as mind-blowingly delicious or indeed as salty as I remember from my experience at Manresa, neither is it as salty as I personally like my butter to be, it was certainly a treat to be eating a butter of this quality on my Sunday slice of toast this morning.

Local Resources
Adante Dairy Website
Adante by Cheese By Hand
Chuck Eats on Andante Dairy Butter
Food for Thought tries Andante Butter

Other Resources & Further Reading
30 Great Butters by Saveur

2006 | Puntarelle
2005 | Tabla, Marin

© 2008 Sam Breach
Andante Butter is in my kitchen right now


  • At 9/3/08 20:12, Anonymous bron said…

    ooooh Sam - not sure I like you stealing years of us like this ;-)
    Butter sounds grand, wish I could have a taste

  • At 9/3/08 20:17, Blogger C(h)ristine said…

    oh this sound sinfully wonderful. saveur has a special issue out on butter, but i don't remember them mentioning Andante butter! (i thought they mentioned french laundry's butter is made to order, though).

    how much was it, btw? Andante dairy makes wonderful cheeses, but they are pricier (worth it) than most.

  • At 9/3/08 20:19, Blogger Sam said…

    I should have mentioned it was $6

  • At 9/3/08 23:39, Blogger Alice Q. said…

    I've had the cheese, but not the butter - will have to give it a try!

  • At 10/3/08 02:28, Blogger Robert said…

    I love the rich yellow color. It certainly does look like a big slice of cheese in the photo!

  • At 10/3/08 03:19, Anonymous David said…

    That butter at Manresa is insanely good. Have you tried that new Clover cultured butter?

    I'm wondering if it's any good.

  • At 10/3/08 03:29, Blogger ChrisB said…

    At that price it would have to be good!

  • At 10/3/08 11:30, Blogger Casey said…

    I was at that Arpege dinner -- at a table for 4 -- and ate FAR more than 1/4 of the butter. Sublime.

  • At 10/3/08 13:15, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I splurged on that Clover butter and I must say it's nice, but not as salty as I like it. I prefer Kerrygold.

  • At 10/3/08 14:54, Blogger Barbara said…

    I've starting adding Maldon salt to regular unsalted butter after it was served to us in a restaurant (where the chef owner is a Frenchman) here in Australia. The butter was so good, thinking it was something special I asked the waiter where it was from. He explained they just add salt to unsalted butter.

  • At 11/3/08 11:24, Anonymous ruhlman said…

    how lucky it is that soyoung is making enough that it's available to consumers and not just chefs. you guys are so lucky out there.

  • At 11/3/08 18:14, Anonymous EB of SpiceDish said…

    To me there are few foods that best a really good slice of toast with the absolute best butter all melted on top.

  • At 11/3/08 18:45, Blogger Almost Vegetarian said…

    What serendipity. I've been trying different butters lately and have butter on the (not literally!) brain. Then I saw Saveur (it is the butter issue), so I picked that up and, why look, now you are talking butter, too.

    I've tried Irish butter and French butter and an Italian butter and a lovely English butter, but I've never tried this one.

    So off to the market I go.


  • At 11/3/08 20:56, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…

    {I fear in your excitement you've accidentally lost Soyoung's N in Andante.}

    This is wonderful news indeed-- thanks for the head's up!

  • At 13/3/08 18:28, Blogger Emma Nowell said…

    For another delightful treat, not only get some great butter to spread on some equally great baguette, but then top it off with a sprinkling of a great specialty salt and I guarantee you won't be able to stop. It's better than perfectly salted butter :)

  • At 14/3/08 16:28, Blogger Loren said…

    I recently enjoyed some butter from Andante Dairy as well. It was fabulous. I will definitely be going back for more.

  • At 15/3/08 12:57, Blogger Sam said…

    thanks for the spelling checks every one - I have fixed my mistake.

  • At 15/3/08 15:21, Blogger San Francisco Photos said…

    Love butter and love discovering yummy and new butter so got to def. check this out. Yum! Always love my baguette with tasty butter.

  • At 16/3/08 11:44, Blogger Sam said…

    I often sprinkle salt on my butter. Marmite is another option and I can attest that it tastes great with Andante's butter.

    BTW - I heard at the market yesterday that you are only allowed one slab of butter per person, because only about a dozen slabs are available a week and they want to spread the butter love.

  • At 21/3/08 13:07, Anonymous swirlingnotions said…

    Have you been to Cyrus yet? They serve two different butters--one goat's milk and one cow's milk--that are just to die for. And I just read that they're building their own bakery next door so the bread will be even more phenomenal.

  • At 21/3/08 13:09, Blogger Sam said…

    Indded I have been to Cyrus and the goat butter was memorably delicious a year later. The thing that blew me away was their caviar cart. I read about the bakery too but live too far away to make as good use of it as the locals will be able to!

  • At 29/3/08 14:45, Anonymous Soyoung said…

    -The butter I sell at at the market is the same as I send to the French laundry every week.
    -The butter is not cultured; it's from fresh cream, which I separate from organic Jersey milk.
    -The butter is not salted at all.
    -The butter I sent to Manresa for the event was salted with locally hand-harvested sea salt.

    I personally prefer my butter salted, but I sell unsalted version because it shows the taste of the milk as directly as possible. Often in our modern life, it's not easy to access to something really fresh and expresses the source simply and honestly. I think that this was the reason the French Laundry wants the butter as it is. They also serve the
    butter from Vermont as salted. Only ingredient for my butter is the freshest milk.

  • At 31/3/08 08:54, Blogger Megan said…

    I adore butter - you make Andante butter sound amazing.


  • At 10/4/08 11:29, Blogger Mike Czyzewski said…

    Best butter I've ever had was at Manresa. The butter was produced/churned by a local Bay Area blogger. The restaurant served us a fairly large block and we sat there eating plain butter. Really, really good...almost cheese-y in its intensity. As you say, maybe the clearest flavor memory I have from my meal...sort of redefined what butter could be.

  • At 2/5/08 17:24, Blogger Davina said…

    i have a slab of that butter sitting at home in the fridge and it's all i can think about. i haven't tried it yet!


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