Popular butters provide ‘a point of difference’

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Oamaru’s Whitestone Cheese is vying for the Gourmet award at this year’s New Zealand Food Awards, with their Whitestone Butter by Al Brown.

Iconic Whitestone Cheese and well-known chef and restaurateur Al Brown collaborated to launch three butters earlier this year; Salted, Unsalted and Manuka Smoked, freshly churned from premium North Otago cream.

Simon and Bob Berry of Whitestone Cheese worked with Mr Brown for 12 months developing the premium product, and Simon said the responce had been really positive.

The butter range is nationally distributed, with the salted and manuka smoked varieties particularly popular, he said.

“It’s that point of difference,” he said.

He’d heard from people who enjoyed the manuka smoked flavour so much, they’ve been eating it like cheese, while others were approaching him on the street congratulating him for launching such a tasty product.

Mr Brown, who is also thrilled with the new product, uses the range in Auckland at his restaurant, and will be at Port Chalmers this weekend to showcase it to the public.

The butter is made fresh and churned in small individual batches, with all natural ingredients – it is butter that tastes, and looks, like butter should, Mr Berry said.

From more than 100 entries, 43 finalists were selected across 14 categories. Winners will be announced at a gala dinner at the Auckland Museum Events Centre on September 19.

Also vying for The New Zealand Herald Bite Gourmet Award are Blue River Dairy LP, for their Curio Bay Pecorino and Culley’s Ltd, for their Green Chile Hot Sauce.

It’s the first time Whitestone Cheese have entered the New Zealand Food Awards, and their Auckland representative will be attending the the gala dinner will be held on September 19.

The New Zealand Food Awards have been running since 1987 with winners ranging from iconic New Zealand brands like Wattie’s to Lake Pukaki-based Mt Cook Alpine Salmon. Last year the French-inspired artisan bakery Paneton won two titles and the Supreme Award.

By Rebecca Ryan