Vine-Smoked Butter

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By James Viles

Published 2016

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I really enjoy the fact that we make our own butter; it’s a very simple and satisfying process. At the end of each season we collect vine cuttings from our regional vineyards. We store and use them to smoke the cream for our butter. This gives a sense of connection to the wines we serve, and it appeals to my heart that it’s one of the first things customers experience at Biota. If you don’t have vine cuttings, use hay, birch or even fruit tree cuttings.

In many traditional dairies and homesteads, cream was often skimmed off several milkings over a couple of days and collected to make butter. The cream was, therefore, several days old and somewhat fermented by the time the butter-making process began. During fermentation, bacteria converts the milk sugars into lactic acid, causing the cream to sour naturally. The fermentation process produces additional aroma compounds, creating a wonderfully flavoured butter. Butter made from fermented cream is known as ‘cultured butter’.