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Where to find the best butter?

Hi all!

Came to these boards often to find advice, but this is my first time posing a question... oooh, exciting!

To the point: where can I get awesome butter? Usually if I want nicer butter I just buy some Lurpak or Kerrygold, but I was wondering if there are any places (creameries, or specialty groceries) that sell more artisan-style butter? My boyfriend bakes awesome bread and we have loads of delicious olive oil, but sometimes there's nothing better than the creamy taste of high-quality butter. I'm tempted to resort to ordering from Zingermans, but it seems a bit wrong to mail-order butter...

Thanks in advance for your help!

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  1. Balduccis has a bunch of nice butters. Wegmans has a butter case for specialty butters, including cool stuff like goat's milk butter. Also, Cheesetique in Del Ray has a few nice buttes. One Vermont butter with sea salt I really enjoyed.

    Also, I just remembered, the German Gourmet near Baileys Crossroads has some interesting butter including a sour milk butter that I liked very much.

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    Balducci's
    600 Franklin St, Alexandria, VA 22314

    4 Replies
    1. re: sekelmaan

      See if you can find "cultured" Butter, as compared to Creamery butter. Organic Valley produces one. The difference being cultured butter is batch made, not continous run production line. The cream is allowed to "ripen overnight or for a specified time then churned. It has a nice mellow taste that you can tell from creamery butter.

      1. re: sekelmaan

        Sekelmaan, those are some good leads, though it's as I feared; I'll have to venture outside of metroing distance. Thanks!

        1. re: SandyCat

          Off the metro line, Courthouse station, on Saturdays is the Arlington Farmers Market. The dairy guy there makes his own butter and sells it in plastic tubs. I should have remembered yesterday. The butter is amazing. It is flavorful and fragrant and outstanding.

          1. re: sekelmaan

            major dittoes -- blue ridge dairy's butter, right?

            here is their schedule for various farmers' markets, including some in the district. http://brdairy.com/

      2. not worth a trip across town, but if you find yourself at the Eastern Market, the regular butter is quite good at Bower's, but what's truly phenomenal is their sour cream -.all made locally at a dairy in MD.

        does Cowgirl carry other dairy products than cheese? I haven't been in a long time.

        1. I've never personally tried it, but I know that Blue Ridge Dairy, who sells at the Dupont Farmers' Market on Sundays makes a cultured butter. If it's anywhere near the standards of their yogurt or fresh cheeses it will be fantastic.

          1 Reply
          1. I like the butter from South Mountain Creamery. They do home delivery and I think you can go out to the creamery and buy stuff directly (not sure if they are at farmers markets... contact them for info). http://www.southmountaincreamery.com/...

            1 Reply
            1. re: wookyluvr

              JBeales..............A local cultured butter would be fantastic!!!!!

            2. I believe Cork Market on 14th st sells specialty butter. I haven't tried it specifically, but it's hard to imagine going wrong in there....

              1. Might you want to try making your own? I'm not in your area, but if you can acquire good cream from one of the sources suggested by others, you can put it in a container, throw a marble in it, and hand it to a hyperactive child to shake until you have butter and buttermilk. Either that or run it through a food processor, blender, or mixer.

                1 Reply
                1. re: piglet86

                  piglet: if this were Facebook, I'd "like" that comment regarding working off the energy of children (I had a similar suggestion once for someone concerned about the effort of kneading bread) doesn't even need to be an HD kid really aren't they all in relation to an adult?.

                  1. re: namret

                    If you make your own butter; allow the cream to "ripen" over night and then churn it......there it is Cultured Butter!

                  2. I'm not a big butter user so I only buy a pound every few months. I use ordinary grocery store brands, and I noticed when I bought a pound over the weekend that the price seems to have gone up a buck or so. How much do these "better" butters hand churned from the milk of virgin cows typically cost? Can I buy a steak for about the sampe price per pound? <g>

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MikeR

                      yes, mike, a good ribeye might even run you less per pound!