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The secrets to making artisanal Swedish butter

Published onsdag 21 januari 2015 kl 11.11
"Telling people the history of butter makes it taste better"
(5:58 min)
Butter from the Butter Vikings. Photo: Patrik Johansson and Maria Håkansson.
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Butter from the Butter Vikings. Photo: Patrik Johansson and Maria Håkansson.
Butter Vikings Maria Håkansson and Patrik Johansson. Photo: Maria Håkansson and Patrik Johansson.
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Butter makers Maria Håkansson and Patrik Johansson. Photo: Maria Håkansson and Patrik Johansson.

Patrik Johansson and Maria Håkansson, known as the Butter Vikings, hand-make artisanal butter in their little dairy Kosta Mejeri in southern Sweden, and their butter is used by what has been called the world's best restaurant.

"We take care of the cream. Industrial butter makers make their butter in what is called a butter canon. It takes three seconds for them to make their butter. Our process takes three days," Patrik Johansson said.

"It is higher quality, tastes better and is more healthy," Maria Håkansson added.

Their "virgin butter" is made completely by hand and is used by restaurants like Copenhagen's Michelin starred Noma, considered by some to be the best restaurant in the world. 

However, the butter is not cheap. It were to be sold at retail, it would cost around 300 SEK / kilo, more than 3 times the usual price of butter.

Using a combination of ancient traditions and modern science, the foundation of their butter-making method is the use of cultured cream, which Johansson said came to the Nordic region around 8,000 years ago.

Sweden was the largest exporter in the world until 1885.

"In Sweden in the 1920s, we had 6,000 dairies, In the 1980s there were 15, now we have 100 dairies. So, it is kind of exploding," Johansson said.

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