In this Meet the Makers series, we're throwing the spotlight on these products and the incredible producers behind them. In this instalment, we look into some of the best butter producers Ireland has to offer.
Butter runs through our veins in Ireland. With our agricultural heritage, lush green pastures and rich soil, there is no hesitation in laying claim to the fact that our dairy is the best in the world. Butter is just one of the amazing delish products that we make from our dairy and, let's face it, it is a stable Irish food that we use at every given chance. A knob of butter dispersing over a mountain of mash is a thing of pure beauty!
For this week’s meet the makers, we wanted to highlight some of the best artisan butter producers Ireland has to offer, but we must stress that this is only a handful of what is a long list of incredible producers, so consider this part one of a series where we acknowledge the best of the best.
Abernethy Butter, Down
Abernethy's focus is producing quality butter using locally sourced ingredients, which has lead them to be recognised as some of the finest butter around. Allison and Will Abernethy had inherited their butter skills from their family, and in 2005 they decided to turn their passion for good quality butter into a business.
They hand blend their butter using wooden butter paddles, which is a traditional way of blending that goes back in Irish history for centuries. This butter making method requires a lot of patience and skill, and it is this which process that gives Abernethy butter its distinct look. Along with their delicious salted butter, Abernethy also produces flavours such as black garlic, dulse and smoked butter.
Glenilen Farm, West Cork
Glenilen Farm originally started back in 1997, when Valerie Alan began using the milk from their small heard of Jersey cows to experiment with making homemade products for local markets. Glenilen Farm believes that wholesome, natural food is the key to their great products. The cows pasture on rich and nutritious grass, giving the milk its delicious creaminess. The Alan family are producing some of the tastiest dairy products around, from their butter to their cheesecakes, you won't be disappointed no matter what you try. The family have been working on the same dairy farm for generations, located on the idyllic River Ilen which the name Glenilen came from. A beautiful butter from an equally beautiful place.
Cuinneog Butter, Mayo
Cuinneog is the Irish word for churn and this company has been producing Irish butter since 1990. The churning process has been passed down from generation to generation for the past 2,000 years, so needless to say, the family are experts of it.
Owners Tom and Shelia still hand churn their butter with the same techniques to this very day. Cuinneog has even passed the lips of royalty, having being served at the State Banquet during Queen Elizabeth’s visit in Dublin. Along with that, they won three golds at the Great Taste Award in 2015 and have become a recognisable name in Irish supermarkets.
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Saturday 13th May join us for a tasting of the award winning #cuinneog butter from Co. Mayo with Breda Butler. From 10.30am we will taste her Irish Farmhouse butter one of the creamiest Irish butter. We'll spread it on Le Levain freshly baked baguettes and sourdough breads. We'll add some of the best smoked salmon from Donegal @thehavensmokehouse. A few wines will be on tasting bien sûr!
Irish Gourmet Butter, Waterford
Owners Billy and Mary Sharpe set up Irish Gourmet Butter in 2017, but butter making has run in their family for generations. Mary’s Grandmother was an All-Ireland butter-making champion in 1936/37. They won a silver award for their Garlic and Herb Butter at Blas na hÉireann in 2017. This handcraft butter is made with the highest quality ingredients sourced from local farms, and you can really taste it in their end product.
Crawford’s Farm, North Tipperary
Crawford’s Farm is located in North Tipperary and is a certified organic farm. They produce some of the best raw products around – raw meaning they haven’t been pasteurised or homogenised so they retain all the wonderful nutrients.
This small scale family micro-dairy farm uses Shorthorn milking cows, which are the perfect breed for both meat and dairy. The cow's pasture on grains that are grown on the same farm. They don't use pesticides or herbicides, which gives their milk that taste of purity. On their website, you can read about each one of their cows which produce the delicious butter.
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Butter steeped in tradition - traditional cows, granddad's milking parlour, granny's butter pats, and grandfather's packing table. Just imperfect enough so that everyone can tell it was lovingly shaped by hand Such a rich, yellow colour from all the good grass with a flavour that is unparalleled. So quintessentially Irish yet so rare these days. Working on bringing back the traditional skills for modern farms/ers. #thisisirishfood #smallbatch #traditionalskills #microdairy #artisan #handmade #rawbutter #irishbutter #organic #crawfordscows #iamamodernfarmer
What is your favourite Irish butter? Please let us know in the comments below as we will return with part two of this list soon!