The Butter of Once Upon a Time

One of the best butters I’ve tried. Somewhere in the Italian Alps. Made from cream collected from three to four milkings, over two days, hand churned and stamped. The milk, kept in a basin, cooled with flowing mountain water, filtered through nettles and brambles. Open, raw, direct, incredibly floral and of the valley.

And to one of the best uses to which it was put – closely followed by the breakfast bowl of coffee, red wine, butter and sugar – a fonduta: onion and tomato simmered down in great quantities of the butter, the smell of floral fat cooking filling the mountain hut. Then cubes of the herdsmen’s Toma are added (a farmhouse mountain cheese, made simply, fast, from the milk of their beautiful cattle grazing the high pastures) a month old, white, chewy, the perfume of the milk still there; this one reconvening with its lost cream in the pan (the butter). An egg, salt and pepper to finish and then served with bread and red wine. Just absolutely delicious!

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