Watching her mother make butter on the kitchen table of their family dairy farmhouse was the dawn of a career for Ocean Grove’s Monica Cavarsan.
Now she’s known as the Butter Queen, operating the cheekily named business Lard Ass.
Monica makes hand-crafted cultured butter, while her husband helps with deliveries and their three sons handle sales at farmers’ markets.
“I started making butter about four years ago now, using my friends and family as the product testers,” Monica says.
She prefers cultured butter for its higher fat content, which results in “much more flavour” than the watery content of the standard item.
“To make cultured butter you ferment the cream for 24 hours with good bacteria, which enhances the flavours that are naturally found in the cream,” she explains.
“Normal cream is alkaline, so what we do is bring the PH level down to create what is known as a creme-fresh, which is what we then churn.
“Afterward, we refrigerate for up to two weeks during the ageing process, which brings out the rich flavours in the butter.
“We then churn it slowly to preserve the creaminess.”
Lard Ass produces four naturally flavoured butters: smoked garlic, dry-roasted fennel seed, smoked butter, and sweet vanilla.
Roasted tomato, and herb and turmeric butters are on the way, Monica says, with Lard Ass butter also available in salted, un-salted and butter-milk styles.
Lard Ass butter is sold at wholefood and fruit and vegetable stores, provedores, restaurants, coffee shops and at farmers markets.
“I feel proud to work with and harness great opportunities with other small businesses and producers,” Monica says.