At the Taste of Two Regions festival last year (our inspiration for our trip down south!) – amongst all the wine – we obsessed about the salted hand-churned butter samples from attendee Myrtleford Butter Factory. It’s a must-do for us on this trip.
Myrtleford’s about half an hour down the (Great Alpine) road from Beechworth, so we set out early on Friday morning to see if the Butter Factory is open. It is!
One of the owners, Naomi, has seen that we’re in the area on Twitter and greets us warmly. We take a seat in the Butter Factory’s cafe and browse the surprisingly short breakfast menu. Even though it’s Good Friday, the place is buzzing – there’s a real anticipation in the air of a big weekend!
I like that the menu has both butter (creme fraiche, buttermilk pancakes, butter (!)) and non-butter items, but I think it’s really missing something that truly shows off its products – like a butter tasting plate. There are butter tastings on crackers in the adjoining factory (see below), but I’d pay for a plate for two with small buttermilk pancakes, some raisin toast with butter, maybe a scone with creme fraiche, garlic toast, mashed potato/cooked spud, a shot of buttermilk and maybe a shortbread cookie to finish off… okay okay, I digress!
We both order the buttermilk pancakes. Well, pancake. But it’s a whopper of one.
This is a hearty pancake with a massive dollop of icecream – I actually struggle to finish. I love the crispy edges. If I could have swapped the maple syrup for berries I would have been very happy, but this does the job nicely.
Sated, we head into the butter factory, where the free tastings of their range are being offered.
We start with the unsalted butter log ($8) which is smooth and light. The salted butter log ($8.50) is delicious – the right lift of salt on the creamy base. This is the butter I remember from last year and I’m excited to have my hands on it again (and of course buy a log!).
We then try the specially made chocolate butter, using chocolate from the newly opened Bright Chocolate Factory. It’s not as sweet as I expect (no bad thing!).
We next get little shots of buttermilk – the liquid that comes out after the butter’s been churned – the same which was used in our pancakes. I can’t ever remember trying straight buttermilk before, and I’m surprised just how tangy it tastes.
We move through the rest of the range – the standouts for me being the honey and walnut ($7), smoked viking salt butter ($7) and the garlic confit ($7.50). The honey and walnut is sweet and nutty, and the smoked viking salt is incredibly moreish. There’s no denying the garlic in the garlic confit butter (if you’re tasting, you might want to try this last!).
In addition to selling plenty of other local goods and crafts, the factory’s also got a viewing room into where the butter is hand-churned.
There are kid-friendly signs which explain how butter’s made and the special differences in this factory. The rolls for their salted and unsalted logs are the way they are because they’re pushed through a sausage machine – clever!
We leave the now very busy factory with three types of butter – and regret a few hours later that I didn’t get the garlic confit!
Date: Friday, 18 April 2014
Where: Great Alpine Road, Myrtleford
Cost: High $30s for food, coffee and tea; $8.50 (salted butter log) + $7 (honey and walnut) + $7 (smoked viking salt) for butter
Value for money: Cafe: medium-high (coffee a let down; could do more with menu, but buttermilk pancakes great); Butter produce: very high
Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile
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