It’s the butter you never knew you needed until you tasted it. And it’s made in Vermont, not Europe.
Marisa Mauro, for almost a decade, has made cultured butter that tastes akin to cheese for her business Ploughgate Creamery at Bragg Farm in the Mad River Valley. It makes sense since she started out as a cheesemaker but later turned to crafting artisanal butter when a fire damaged her cheese operation in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Using fresh Vermont cream, and adding live cultures before churning (similar to making cheese or yogurt), she’s built a following among chefs and anybody who stumbles upon the spreads. This year, Ploughgate partnered with mozzarella producer Maplebrook Farm and the operation moved to the cheesemaker’s larger creamery in North Bennington.
The line includes a luxurious unsalted butter, sweet from the cream and slightly tangy and nutty, and a salted version with coarse sea salt that adds a delicious crunch. Flavored butter are offered too. The seaweed butter is made with flecks of dulse and nori harvested in Maine waters that lend a savory flavor and a green and purplish hue. Another has espelette pepper that creates a smokiness. The maple butter churned with Vermont maple syrup is ideal not only for pancakes but also for roasted carrots or squash. Next month and until December, you can look forward to more choices: balsamic and fig, chocolate, and cinnamon with crystalized ginger — all with endless uses to enhance dishes or baked goods or just to slather on bread. Mauro says she’s influenced by French butter artisan Jean Yves Bordier, who uses centuries-old techniques. “I’m also inspired by past travels and just want to be creative,” she says (8 ounces for about $9).
Available at Dave’s Fresh Pasta, 81 Holland St., Somerville, 617-623-0867; Formaggio Kitchen, 358 Huron Ave., Cambridge; 617-354-475; Fruit Center Marketplace, 10 Bassett St., Milton, 617-696-5271; and others, or at ploughgate.com.
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.