從牛奶提煉出來的牛油，對本來就是奶製品愛好者的我來說，是無法抗拒的人間美食。更甚者我會把它視為主菜，如果在餐廳點一份All Day Breakfast，只有烤多士而沒有牛油，絕對是說不過去的事。相比起塗滿牛油的多士，炒蛋和三文魚也只好暫時充當配菜的角色。
If I lived near a farm, I would probably come home with a bottle of fresh milk each time to make my own butter. The earliest butter was prepared manually: churning fresh, unhomogenised milk to separate the fat globules from the liquid whey. To city dwellers like me, though, even fresh milk is a novelty.
Butter made from fresh cow’s milk is an earthly pleasure to dairy lovers. We bestow upon it the importance of a main course. It’s impossible to imagine an All-Day Breakfast without butter – scrambled eggs and smoked salmon are mere accompaniments to buttered toast.
牛油有一段時間被視為影響健康的元兇之一，直到近年，含較少反式脂肪的的動物性牛油才得以被平反，一般超市已不乏有機牛油的選擇。健康飲食、環境友善是本世紀的兩大重要課題，而同時愈來愈多人醒悟這些說穿了也跟心靈健康緊密相關。來自法國布列塔尼的牛油品牌Le Beurre Bordier之所以被世界眾多星級餐廳選用，證明了不少人開始肯定美味是無法被大量生產的，只能用心製造。
Dining in Europe, where bread and butter are respected, is pure joy. A home-baked sourdough slathered in butter makes a splendid thing to put on the table. It’s a knee-jerk first course, leaving one wanting more. The feast has begun.
For years, butter has been seen as the dietary demon – until butter with a lower trans fat content makes a recent comeback alongside its organic counterparts. As the food-obsessed public sets off a national conversation about nutrition and sustainability, our food choices are increasingly informed by our spirituality. And when it comes the spirit of the art, few can match the kitchen staple Le Beurre Bordier, sought the world over – certainly not the mass-produced kind of butter.
A man of refreshing candour, Jean-Yves Bordier is the third generation in a family of fromagiers. In his own humble words, there is no secret to the French artisanal producer’s recipe; he would happily show visitors every nook and cranny of his maison du beurre. There are churns, barrels and instruments that look like medieval torture devices, but the main draw is the kneading, flavouring, moulding and packaging – in other words, the human presence. One of the kneaders has been operating the equipment for three years, namely a teak frame with a wheel that slowly turns in the opposition to the frame. Three years have been just enough time for the kneader to develop a “feeling” for when the process is complete, which depends on the season and the feed given to the cows. Different seasons impart different flavours; rainy seasons produce the highest quality of pasture-fed dairy. Butter, then, is also nature’s blotting paper as its taste changes all year long.
Le Beurre Bordier應該是市面上有最多款不同味道的牛油品牌，海藻味、辣椒味都有，我的喜好是原味和鹽味兩種最簡單的味道。有比我年輕的朋友跟我說，在家吃麵包塗牛油未免是太過講究的玩意。我感到非常驚訝，麵包和牛油不是最簡單的食物嗎？不過假若是Le Beurre Bordier的話，呈金字塔狀的手造坑紋質感確實美得叫我不捨得厚厚地塗。不消五分鐘，待它慢慢溶化泛光，不如直接品嚐一口。那軟綿綿的牛油香，想忘也忘不了。
Le Beurre Bordier boasts the widest range of flavours, including seaweed and espelette chilli. My favourites, however, are the simplest: natural and salted. A younger friend once said that a toasted loaf spread with butter was something of a sumptuous treat at home. I found it hard to believe. Is bread and butter not a frugal slice of heaven? Even though, it’s true I cannot bring myself to lavish the perfect pyramid of a handmade Le Beurre Bordier butter on toast. Let it sit for five minutes – until it slowly begins to melt: a silky, golden hour to be appreciated in its own right, never to be forgotten.