30 November 2023

Spreading the love: Temporada launches The Butter Project

| Lucy Ridge
Dave stands next to a market banner.

Dave sold out of his cultured butter on his first market visit, but he’s promising to bring more next time. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

Canberra hospitality institution Temporada has branched out into the market scene with The Butter Project. Owner and head chef Dave Young explained that they’d been making their own butter in-house since the restaurant opened, but they were looking for a niche to expand their business beyond their restaurant hours.

“I think butter was just the easiest commodity for us, it was something we were already making and it’s a good product,” Dave told Region.

“And most people really love butter!”

The team has increased their butter-making capacity and regularly attends the Capital Region Farmers Market at EPIC. Dave says that they just take a couple of loaves of bread and let people taste the product for themselves. And they’ll generally buy it! The stall sold out in just a few hours for their first market event.

As the chef, Dave rarely gets to see his customers face to face, so he’s excited to have the chance to experience the ‘customer service’ side of things.

“Some people at the markets love to have yarn, which is fun. And this is honestly part of the reason why I enjoy it: you’re never at the coal face as a chef. Even in an open kitchen, you don’t get to talk to people so much. So it’s actually very nice to talk to customers for once.”

“Some people at the markets were actually our regular customers, but I didn’t recognise them! Fortunately, our manager Andrea knows everybody. I just know them by their orders: oh yeah, the spatchcock lady,” he laughed.

Blocks of foil wrapped butter with stickers reading 'the butter project'

Cultured butter is made by adding a particular strain of bacteria to change the Ph levels and create a lactic sour flavour. Photo: Temporada.

The butter is made with fresh cream from Tilba Dairy, and it’s also ‘cultured’. Dave explains that this involves adding mesophilic culture and allowing the Ph levels in the cream to drop. This results in a lactic sourness similar to crème fraîche, but the overall sweetness in the cream balances it nicely.

“Churning butter is just essentially whipping cream too far, which every apprentice has done accidentally! But now we’re actually doing it on purpose. Then we squeeze out the buttermilk, wash the butter, knead it to get the moisture out, salt it, leave it overnight, pat the last of the moisture out, mix it to get it soft again, set it in trays, cut it and pack it.”

“So it’s a lot for a small restaurant to do.”

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But the hard work is all worth it for the delicious end result! The key difference, Dave explains, is that the butter is made for flavour.

“That’s the commitment. We’re not trying to make as much as possible, we’re just trying to make it as good as we can.”

Bread and butter on plates

Temporada had always made its own butter for the restaurant but was looking for a niche to expand into. Photo: Temporada.

The Butter Project is just one of several side projects for Temporada. They had a stall at the Winter Forage markets, and they regularly cater for functions and weddings at Petrichor farm. They also host occasional events at the restaurant with winemakers and local producers. The next event will be a festive dinner with Mada wines on 6 December.

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Speaking broadly, Dave says the environment’s generally pretty tough in the hospitality industry at the moment. With people spending less money on dining out, he anticipates more restaurants will start bottling, jarring or packaging products to add a little extra income to their business.

plate of beautiful food

Kingfish with charred mandarin. Photo: Lucy Ridge.

He’s hopeful that the butter project will take on a life of its own: he’s looking to the future and thinking about stocking local shops and expanding their production. For now, he’s just looking for ways to use up the excess buttermilk.

“There will be a lot of buttermilk dressing, and it’s already going in the waffles we make to accompany our parfait. Maybe we’ll make buttermilk chicken or a marinade? There’s plenty to think about!”

Find The Butter Project weekly at The Capital Region Farmers Market, EPIC. Temporada is located at 15 Moore Street, Canberra City. They are open for lunch, Thursday and Friday, from 12 noon to 2:30 pm, and for dinner and drinks Monday to Saturday from 5 pm. Follow Temporada on Facebook and Instagram, and visit their Temporada to book.

Original Article published by Lucy Ridge on Riotact.

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