Listen: Culture File – The Butter Vikings at Ballymaloe LitFest - asparagus, butter

Local asparagus – roasted in butter

Bringing butter back? Well, if it’s on the cover of Time Magazine, it must be true (just try and forget about this one, which fronted a 1984 story on cholesterol entitled Hold the Eggs and Butter). Now that we’ve all come round to thinking in a new way about lovely old butter, it’s time to go to the next stage: industrial vs hand-produced.

Swedish buttermaker Patrik Johansson likes to eat his own handiwork for breakfast, sometimes with a side of omelette. He and Margit Richert are known as the Butter Vikings and they make what has been called “the most prestigious butter in the world,” supplying René Redzepi at Noma and other top class restaurants with their unique virgin butter.

They brought their butter to Ballymaloe LitFest – just in case there wasn’t enough there – holding a sold-out butter-making workshop during the weekend.

You’ll find Patrik and Magit on Instagram; follow them at buttervikings for a playful insight into work methods involving koji, daisy-infused cream and bunches of bog myrtle.

While the Butter Vikings were only visiting Ireland, you don’t need to go all the way to Sweden to find artisan butter. You’ll find the newly canonised good fat in wax paper-wrapped slabs from West Cork’s Glenilen Farm, Mayo’s Cuinneog and graceful curls of the salty stuff at Abernethy Butter Company in Co Down.



Food writer. Broadcaster. Blogger. Author. Married to Eight Degrees Brewing. Member of the Irish Food Writers' Guild, founder of Irish Food Bloggers Association and co-author of Sláinte: The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer & Cider (New Island)

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