The best butter in the world is in France
The best butter in the world is in France, and the best butter in France is in Brittany. If you know anything about high-end food culture, you may already know where this story is headed, but for those who don't, here's how we stumbled upon the best (objectively, bien sûr) butter in the world.
In 2019 on a trip to France with my family, we headed to the northern part of France, Brittany, to visit some friends. We rented a car and zoomed out of Paris, past the rising town of Mont Saint-Michel and through the lush green hills spotted with cows.
Brittany is on the ocean and known for its opulent bounty— the area is renowned for oysters, fish, sea-salt, dairy, and cider. So, we weren't surprised when we found ourselves in a little seaside town called Saint-Malo, surrounded by a fabulous assortment of culinary options. Don't get me wrong—the food in Paris and the rest of France is incredible, but there's something distinctly earthy about the things we were eating in Brittany.
We finally decided on a little brasserie for dinner and ordered moules-frites (mussels with fries) for the table. Bread arrived first, accompanied by a little foil-wrapped pat of butter. Thinking nothing of it (aside from the fact that I love that some restaurants still serve bread before dinner), I spread the butter on my bread and took a bite. I started: this was the best butter I had ever eaten. And I eat a lot butter. As soon as my parents had bitten into their buttery bread, they knew what I was talking about.
Our waiter confirmed our suspicion—we had stumbled upon a butter treasure trove. Butter from Brittany is world renowned for a few reasons. Firstly, because the cows here are pasture-raised, meaning they primarily eat the grass in the area, and are not pumped full of the hormones many American cows are. Secondly, butter in Brittany is salted. Not only was sea-salt in abundance in this ocean-side area, but its use was encouraged to keep the butter from going bad. Furthermore, Brittany was not placed under the salt tax in the 14th century, leaving them free to continue salting their amazing butter. Finally, butter makers in Brittany knead their butter, often incorporating saffron, yuzu, chives, and other unique flavorings.
Needless-to-say, the next day we found the heavenly shop that is La Maison du Beurre, owned by Jean-Yves Bordier. Beurre Bordier is what we had eaten the night before, and we were determined to drive away with as many pounds of this delicacy as
The shop was everything we hoped it would be, and we drove off with butter molds, cheese, and about eight types of fresh butter wrapped in wax paper. If you have the chance to visit this store, please do, but I understand there is a shop in Paris and New York where you can grab some of this amazing butter. Bon appétit!