The Audi Q2 Edition #1 driving in the Oxfordshire countryside

Mellow yellow

Butter is trendy again and thanks to the Audi Q2 Edition #1, and the Audi thermal shopping basket,
we’re able to bring a batch of Grant Harrington’s sought-after butter back to enjoy at home

Grant Harrington and his dog at the farm where & butter is churned

A wheel of & butter, churned by Grant Harrington

Until I tasted Grant Harrington’s butter, I had never tasted butter before. Well, obviously I had, but there’s no going back from this. I’m given a knob of it on the end of a knife to eat just as it is. It’s incredibly butter-y. Salty, umami, round, fatty…

‘Can I have another bit?’ I ask. Harrington, a former chef at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, makes what he claims is the butteriest butter possible from a small workspace on a farm outside of Bicester in Oxfordshire. I’ve brought Audi’s black thermal shopping basket to load up my Q2 Edition #1 with butter so I can keep it cool. I’m a self-confessed addict. The Q2 Edition #1 introduces all kinds of extra kit and a raft of special design features to Audi’s new compact SUV, including an exterior based on the top-of-the-range S line, LED headlights, a set of 19-inch five-spoke alloy wheels and standard-fit sports seats.

A close up of Grant Harrington making the & butter

& butter being churned

Harrington had his buttery Damascene moment in Sweden, where he worked with Magnus Nilsson at two Michelin-starred restaurant Fäviken. ‘The first thing I tried was the butter and I couldn’t get that flavour out of my head,’ he recalls. It set him on a quest to work out a recipe for what makes butter so buttery, the results of which have seen him supply his creation, named simply ‘&’, to some of the UK’s best restaurants.

He deconstructed every part of the butter-making process and found that butteriness doesn’t rely on one thing alone. ‘Milk’s quality depends on the breed of cow and how much grass they’re eating,’ he explains. ‘The beta-carotene in the grass is what gives butter its yellow colour. If a cow has been treated well its milk will make a really yellow butter.’

The Audi Black Thermal Shopping Basket used to store a wheel of & butter

It turns out that milk, like wine, has a terroir. ‘The bacteria in the field where the cow is grazing also adds into what I culture,’ Harrington explains. Culturing is the process, used in traditional butter making, of partially souring or fermenting of cream before it’s churned. Harrington takes cream from local Jersey cows, known for the fattiness of their milk, and adds a specific bacteria to it to culture it. ‘Just like you add different bacteria to milk to make different cheeses, I researched the best bacteria to make the butteriest butter,’ he says. The flavour we recognise as ‘buttery’ is diacetyl, so Harrington found a bacteria that makes as much of this compound as possible. After adding it, he leaves the cream to ferment for 160 hours to produce really intense flavours, then churns it into butter.

I’m not the only convert. He makes 110 kilos of butter a week by hand for restaurants like Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Claude Bosi’s Bibendum and Sat Bains, plus delis and markets. He reckons the perfect ratio of bread to butter should be one to one, but I reach for another unadulterated spoonful. Frankly, when butter is this buttery, there’s really no need for bread.

Written by Johanna Derry; Photographs by Juan Trujillo Andrades.


Find out more about the Audi thermal shopping basket