Ocean Grove’s Monica Cavarsan was hooked on home-made butter from the first taste of mum’s handiwork in the kitchen of their family dairy farmhouse.
Monica has since followed in her footsteps to become known as The Butter Queen, who operates the cheekily named local business Lard Ass.
Monica makes the business’s 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 using my friends and family as the product testers,” Monica says.
She prefers cultured butter for its higher fat content and consequently richer flavour.
“To make cultured butter you ferment the cream for 24 hours with good bacteria, which enhances the flavours 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 fraiche.
“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’s salted or unsalted cultured butter also comes in a variety of flavours, including smoked garlic, dry-roasted fennel seed, smoked, and sweet vanilla.
Monica always has more flavours and butter products in the pipeline, so fans are advised to keep their eyes peeled for new offerings.
Lard Ass butter is sold at wholefood and fruit and vegetable stores, provedores, restaurants, coffee shops and farmers markets, giving Monica an extensive network of operators with whom she collaborates.
“I’m proud to work with other small businesses and producers to harness our opportunities,” she says.