Who Eats The Most Butter? And The Most Cream?

Aaahh butter… and cream! So right and so wrong all at the same time…

Growing up in Germany, I was reared on liberal lashings of both. Two kinds of butter enjoyed permanent residency in our fridge: ‘sweet cream’ butter and lactic butter (made from sour cream).

butterbrotOven-fresh sourdough bread, crust still crispy, slathered with a lavish layer of butter… what could be more delicious?! Unless you’re my dad, who liked to cut himself half-inch thick slices of butter,Β  and eat them without bread.

But those blissful days just couldn’t last forever. In the early 90’s, I moved to the UK, where I encountered the sacrilege that is salted butter. The salt, I’m convinced, was meant to disguise the fact that it was half rancid.

A baffling phenomenon, especially as I remembered my Dad often buying Irish butter in Germany, and that tasted great. I was at a total loss to understand the UK butter debacle. Right next door, there was good butter (ditto across the Channel in France), and English people were putting up with candle wax dragged through sweaty armpits?

From the 2000’s onwards, thank God, the islanders started to see the light, and a better selection of unadulterated varieties started appearing on UK supermarket shelves.

ClottedCream

Scone topped with jam and clotted cream – heaven!

Moving onto cream. Well, on my planet, ice cream and cakes were not considered complete without a tower of sumptuous whipped cream artfully erected on top. In the UK, they would just pour it, unwhipped, over their desserts. Fine, I could live with that. Despite their beastly botched butter, they had some pretty good cream, including this most marvellous of concoctions called clotted cream. It tastes like a mixture of butter and cream, and it’s way more delicious than that description makes it sound.

But then… about a decade ago, it all started to go horribly wrong. ‘Cream’ dispensed from spray cans took over in UK restaurants and cafes. Now, what’s in those cans is not cream, but some aerated type of white sludge, emulsified within an inch of its life. (Is it even still dairy?!) Within three minutes of hitting the plate, it melts into an insipid puddle that looks like cum. They serve this aberration in Spain as well. Sigh.

To my great relief, when I was back in Germany this summer, I found that ice cream and cake were still accompanied with what I recognise as the ‘real stuff’ – dense-textured, full-bodied creeeeeeeamy cream, whisked into a shape that holds up in all weathers as it slowly glides from your spoon down your throat and directly into your arteries.

So, who does indulge the most*?
The world’s top butter consumer is Denmark with 5.7kg per capita in 2013, followed – oh yes! – by Germany with 4.9kg. Here’s the rest of the top ten: Finland, Austria, Belarus, Azerbaijan (really??), France, Switzerland, Czech Republic and Georgia.

The UK is in 16th place with 2.5kg, and the US is even further down with 2.0kg. Spain managed a paltry 0.4kg. (Spanish butter, by the way, is awful.) New Zealand’s butter consumption (2.6 kg) is double that of Australia’s.

On the cream front, Sweden leads, slurping and spooning down 11.1kg in 2013 per capita, followed by Belarus with 10.3kg. In third place, we have Canada, with 9.1kg, which, curiously, is far ahead of the US’s 4.0kg. Can anyone explain this…? Next in line are Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Finland, Norway, Estonia and Lithuania. The UK and Spain trail far behind with just 1.7kg and 1.2kg, respectively.

Well, people, butter or cream or both?! Go on, spill all your dark, delicious dairy fat indulgence secrets…

[*For data source, click here]

Advertisements

59 thoughts on “Who Eats The Most Butter? And The Most Cream?

  1. Anna

    Ok, now that I read it…the stats must be wrong. How can you have Azer, Georgia and Belarus on these lists but NOT RUSSIA? Russia is obsessed with fatty dairy products! I had both proper cream and proper butter this morning for breakfast! Must be why my diet isnt working…

    Like

    Reply
      1. eminthecaucasus

        I’m confused by Georgia on this list as well. Where is the cream? Where? The only stuff I see is imported, and I’ve never had it served by a non-ex-pat. Maybe they’re just hogging it all to the extent that I didn’t even know it existed? That’s not very good hospitality!

        Like

  2. con jamΓ³n spain

    Fascinating post – does Ireland feature? Spain being so low on consumption doesn’t surprise us. There is never much choice in the supermarkets/shops and ‘proper’ cream is almost impossible to get hold of. You even ned a search party out to find fresh milk.

    S loves cream, M doesn’t – but then again he couldn’t take his mother’s milk and was sick on his christening gown. Very proud of the fact all these years later as an ardent atheist.

    Great post as usual – keep us informed on Marmite consumption.

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Ireland does better in the stats than the UK. Hardly surprising, they’ve got a massive dairy industry.
      LOL, love the christening story. Was it projectile?! I sure hope he managed to spew a bit into the baptismal font πŸ˜‰
      I hear they have really good dairy in the north, i.e. Galicia, Asturias, etc. Not managed to check that out yet.
      Marmite… now there’s an idea…

      Like

      Reply
  3. bevchen

    Azerbaijan? Interesting…

    OY, there’s nothing wrong with salted butter! When I first came to Germany, I found your plain variety completely tasteless. But I only use butter for baking anyway… I can’t spread the stuff so I’m all about magarine!

    I miss clotted cream. And Germany needs to get with the program on double cream.

    Like

    Reply
  4. ottominuti

    I see that Italy is not even on the list. Cream and butter are a crime in the Belpaese and, frankly, butter there is a pale, whitish color and doesn’t taste of anything. Can you believe that I tasted butter for the first time in my 20s and cream even later? I now love salted butter (yes, yes! especially with fleur de sel in it) on a warm, toasted slice of dark bread in the morning but cream…that I can’t get used to. I guess DNA plays a part in that πŸ™‚

    Like

    Reply
  5. pollyheath

    I would agree that the US isn’t that big on cream. Sure we have the gross whipped cream in a can, but not much else. I can’t give any good explanation why.

    Like

    Reply
      1. Eric

        lol I suppose we do make exceptions for our apple pie, though it’s normally ice cream as opposed to cream cream πŸ˜›

        Like

      2. Eric

        and expounding upon that last note, there’s of course the classic culinary war here between French Vanilla (or “freedom” vanilla as its often referred to, when Franco-American relations reach one of their periodic boiling points), and vanilla bean icecream, though I suppose for me it depends on whether or not I’m enjoying strawberry, cherry, or rhubarb pie πŸ˜›

        Like

  6. linnetmoss

    I can’t agree more that there is nothing like a creamy dairy product! In London this past July, I tasted clotted cream for the first time. Sheer heaven! I thought it would be like the thick white “Devonshire cream” we get here (US), imported in tiny jars, but it was quite different, a pale yellow. A bit like a cross between whipped sweet butter and cream. On the Italian side there is mascarpone cheese, which is like a thick sweet cream cheese, very good on scones if you can’t get clotted cream (as I can’t). Regarding the salted butter, It dominates the market here! Unless people are bakers and they know to get the higher-quality unsalted. I’ve recently started exploring the imported butters like Plugra, and there’s a huge qualitative difference. Thanks for the delicious post.

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      Ah yes, mascarpone… I forgot about that delectable cream substitute!
      Salted butter, it’s just tragic. Bread is already salty as hell, and people can always add more salt if they want it. Can’t take it out, though! Keep experimenting πŸ™‚ BTW, cute (gr)avatar… reminds me of a beloved cat I had long ago.

      Like

      Reply
  7. camparigirl

    I didn’t encounter salted butter until my first trip to the UK at age 14. I thought it was wonderful! Especially when spread on toast and topped with sweet jam. I have gotten over it now. I will take full fat French butter any day.

    Like

    Reply
  8. TheLastWord

    Candle wax? Ha Ha!

    Tell me this. If the US is so far down the list of butter consumers why is obesity such a problem there? I suspect all the food is fake – chemicals designed to sort of taste like food.

    I remember unsalted butter fresh churned in a bowl. Cream taken right off the top of the boiled and cooled fresh milk (un pasteurised) and then whipped with a fork until it turned into butter.

    Didn’t care for it growing up. Wouldn’t mind trying it now.

    Now where do I find unpasteurised, fresh milk that I can boil myself? Hmm?

    Like

    Reply
    1. ladyofthecakes Post author

      In a cow? πŸ˜‰
      Obesity is multifactorial… the US is the biggest per capita consumer of soft drinks in the world, and that has something to do with it. Also, the portion sizes that are eaten there.

      Like

      Reply
  9. TBM

    Finally a list the US was on at the top. You’d think with all the cows the US would have better cheese and butter but sadly they do not. I can’t eat clotted cream because of the word clotted. Just doesn’t sound right to me. Still haven’t bought any cream in the can. Should stock up on that if you ever visit. We can have a spraying war in the garden. Bring DQ

    Like

    Reply
  10. minerva

    I was shocked to discover this summer that they now have squirty cream in France. Given their delectable butter (which I always try and bring some home after my holidays), this does not make sense at all. Why would a french person possibly want squirty cream with their culinary heritage….?? Thank goodness for French butter in British shops these days…..it’s very definitely the best!

    Like

    Reply
      1. minerva

        Indeed! Although I do have to agree with your comment about clotted cream – there’s nothing better on a fresh scone with some fruity jam…….lovely!

        Like

  11. Bernard O'Shea

    I’m doing my bit to get Australia to rise in the rankings. I have an Irish passport too so I will have a double dollops. Even cornflakes even are so much better with cream! I agree that tinned spray cream stuff is disgusting, you described it perfectly. A hilarious daring description, actually. I am sure II shall think of this post next time I get sprayed. Cheers

    Like

    Reply
  12. Rachel

    Australians don’t have butter. Seriously. Try finding butter in a shop, it’s almost impossible. It’s all margarine. I’ve got to say, though, that cream comes in a (somewhat strangely-shaped plastic) container with a (equally strangely-shaped) red or yellow lid. And it’s proper cream, too. And it can come in the goat variety. And sour cream is also very easy to find.

    And I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t like butter. My sister was completely GF/CF until only a few years ago, so I was raised on dairy-free margarine – butter just tastes weird to me. But I’ve got to say that salted butter is the worst. I’m having strawberry jam – that’s sweet! Why would I want to put salt on it?

    Like

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s