Abernethy Butter is one of the great recent success stories of Northern Ireland’s artisan food revival.
Since turning their hand churned butter making hobby into a business in 2005, and initially selling at markets, Will and Allison Abernethy’s delicious and handsomely presented products are now on sale at some very prestigious shops indeed (including Fortnum and Mason, in London) and they have the distinction of being offered at Heston Blumental’s Fat Duck Restaurant in Berkshire and Marcus Wareing in Knightsbridge, as well as many of the best tables in Ireland (details on their website).
Will and Allison’s company is the only one in Northern Ireland producing hand made butter and, while it is the result of a lot of hard work and skill, it is a beautifully simple product, containing only fresh cream and salt. The cream is supplied by the pasture grazing cows of a local farmer, who pasteurises his own milk.
The cream is churned in the traditional way to separate the butter from the buttermilk, rinsed by hand to remove any remaining buttermilk, lightly salted and then patted into shape by hand. Simple as it is, there is great interest in this process, which was until recently a part of everyday life on every farm, and the Abernethys are available to do demonstrations at shows or other events (a small fee is charged).
Their beautiful creamy butter is also beautifully packaged in rustic greaseproof and brown paper - and you will spot their little blue and white greaseproof disc on butter dishes in good restaurants around the province.
In addition to the butter (which has a shelf life of 12 weeks and can be frozen if required), Will and Allison make the delicious Abernethy Butter Fudge (available online) and Brandy Butter, a seasonal product that keeps for six months.