Best Butter in Australia: Myrtleford Butter @ King Valley Dairy, Victoria Australia

Hey guys! It’s been awhile since I last posted about my Australian adventure – got caught up with work/writing about other stuff – but here I am again! 🙂 

Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of milk – so you’d think it’d be easy to find good artisan butter, right?

Wrong.

At least, according to Naomi Ingleton, a third generation chef turned butter maker. Ingleton, who previously ran a cafe, decided to make the career switch after realising how difficult it was to get a good local substitute for the French artisan butter she was using at her cafe.

“It was just a shame because we have such good quality milk here,” Ingleton shares when we visited her at King Valley Diary in Mohyu, which is now one of the biggest makers of artisanal or cultured butter – churning out 8 tonnes of butter a week. This is shipped to gourmet food stores, groceries and cafes all over Australia as Myrtleford Butter.

King Valley Dairy in Mohyu

Four years ago was when Ingleton and her partner David Taylor took the leap of faith to close down the cafe and focus solely on making butter. They bought a small butter factory which was empty at the time, gutted the whole place and rebuilt it from the ground up. It was a big risk – even with her chef background, Ingleton knew close to nothing about butter making, and had to learn everything from scratch. Today, the factory offers a range of products, from salted and unsalted butter in various flavours such as wild thyme, smoked salt and black truffle, to their signature buttermilk, ghee, ricotta and more.

The factory has a quaint cafe-cum-store area where visitors can browse through products. The bright and airy looking space combines rustic woods with natural lighting and contemporary charm. Aside from dairy products, they also carry a small selection of fresh produce (jams, deli meats, vegetables) from the surrounding region and items such as soap.

Perfect gifts/souvenirs for friends and family if you’re stopping by while on Victoria’s Food and Wine Trail.

We tried a sample of the different flavours, some creme fraiche and buttermilk ‘shots’, served with home made bread. The buttermilk left a tangy, tart taste in the mouth (in a good way, of course!), while the creme fraiche was creamy and smooth – perfect as a spread. It was hard to pick a favourite flavour, but I’d have to go for the confit garlic (one of their bestsellers!) and black truffle butter. Both are good ingredients to pair with butter, and the flavours really shone through. Other varieties available include Wild Thyme, Smoked Salt and the innovative Chocolate Butter.

The factory area where guests can watch the #ChurnGang in action and understand more about the butter making process.

  

Naomi Ingleton at her shop.

Myrtleford has one of the best butters I’ve ever tasted, and I hope they get to expand soon so they can export some to Malaysia! If you’re ever in Aus, look out for the brand – you won’t regret your purchase. 🙂

KING VALLEY DAIRY 

107 Moyhu-Meadow Creek Rd, Moyhu VIC 3732, Australia

Open daily 10AM – 4PM

facebook.com/KingValleyDairy/

 

Authentic Italian Cheeses @ La Latteria Mozarella Laboratory, Milk & Yoghurt, Melbourne

There are so many gems (of the gastronomic variety!) to be found in the old neighbourhood of Carlton in Melbourne – especially in its Little Italy district along Lygon Street, which is famed for its pizzerias, alfresco dining cafes, bakeries and Italian restaurants. For stout dairy devotees, a must visit while in this part of town is La Latteria. Don’t let its humble-looking facade fool you: the place has its own ‘Mozzarella Laboratory’, and churns out fresh cheeses that are hand-stretched and shaped here daily, in addition to milk, yoghurt, cream, hams and other goodies you’ll find on a table in Italian homes.

Upon entering, we were greeted by a beautiful display: slabs of cheese wheels, round balls of fiore di burrata and buffalo mozzarella soaking in brine, olives, peppers, as well as stacks of sausages and hams. Hailing from Malaysia where knowledge of ‘popular’ Italian food is generally limited to things like pizza and pasta, I was glad that the outlet’s friendly proprietor, Katia, had the patience to walk me through some cheesy terminology:

  • Burrata – Cheese with a mozzarella skin , shaped like a money bag and filled with seasoned and stretched curd and cream.
  • Fiore di Burrata – A beautiful ball of fresh mozzarella with oozy, seasoned cream in the centre.
  • Ricotta – Milky cheese that is like a spread, with a smooth texture and delicate flavour.
  • Pecorino – A type of hard cheese, with filling such as olives, peppers and chillies.

Cheeses at La Latteria are freshly made from pasteurised milk sourced from Melbourne’s surrounding Victoria region.

We tried the latter three, served on a wooden chop board with thin wafers. The Fiore de Burrata, made from buffalo milk rather than regular cow’s milk (it’s supposedly lower in cholesterol and rich in vitamin A) was my favourite – the ball had a soft, bouncy texture and a fresh creaminess that was not cloying, while the centre was oozy, light and savoury. Eaten cold, it was super addictive even on its own. Similarly, the ricotta was rich in flavour but light, with an airy texture: perfect for desserts, pastries or added on pastas. The pecorino was good, a bit on the salty side, but then again I’ve always preferred squishy, chewy cheeses over hard ones.

Tempted to bring some of these goodies home, but I still had a couple of days to go around Aus and storage would have been a problem. 😛

Still reminiscing on that amazingly light but creamy flavour of the burrata as I type this *drools*.

La Latteria (Melbourne) 

104 Elgin Street, Carlton 3053

Phone: 03 9347 9009

Opening hours: Monday – Friday 9am – 7pm
Saturday 9am – 2pm

lalatteria.com.au