The subject today is specialty butter. If you go into a gourmet or specialty food shop and check out the butter section you’ll notice smaller, colored packages of pricey fancy butters, usually European or European-style, containing more butterfat and less water than standard American butter, lending them a richer taste. Many are pasture-based and traditionally churned. These butters generally have no preservatives or coloring, allowing natural factors to control the color, such as where and when the cows have been grazing. You’ll see butter made from the milk of particular cows, or cows grazing in specific regions. Some of this specialty butter is also cultured, meaning made from cream that has been allowed to ferment. Now and again I’ll select one of these dear butters to eat on baguettes plain, only because they are so damned good and we’re worth it. Today I brought home a cultured Italian produced by Delitia from the milk collected during the production of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It has a deep and nutty flavor with a little acidity and all the denseness associated with more butterfat and less water. My advice is to choose a good day-to-day Euro-style that won’t totally blow your budget, like Challenge or Strauss, and then work your way through the top-shelf butters when you are looking for something really special. Count on never being able to going back to cheap butter once you’ve had something better.