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Goat's Milk Butter: The Greatest Food Ever Created?

Sitting pertly among nearly identical blocks of silver-wrapped packages of butter in the dairy section at Phoenicia was this block of goat's milk butter from Meyenburg. I would have missed it, if it weren't sitting directly next to the Lurpak that I needed.

For as deeply as my love flows for goat milk and goat cheese (I'd work at Pure Luck in exchange for cheese -- no salary necessary), I'd never tasted goat butter. Not wanting to waste time contemplating why, I put the goat butter in my basket along with the Lurpak and headed to the checkout line.

Goat butter doesn't contain any beta carotene, so the first thing you'll notice about it is that -- unlike cow's milk butter -- it's not yellow. Just the same pale cream color of goat cheese and milk. It does resemble regular butter in texture, but that's about where the similarities end. Goat butter is distinctly goat-like. That is, it tastes slightly grassy and sweet and tangy, but with the same creaminess you expect in cow butter. It also has a much lower melting point than cow butter, meaning it melts and spreads quicker and makes an excellent sub in savory dishes (like the potato gratin shown here, which I can't wait to try out myself).

Goat butter has other benefits, too.

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It doesn't contain casein, which is the ingredient in cow's milk products that many lactose-intolerant people can't properly digest. Goat's milk and other products, like cheese and butter, can often be substitutes for people who would otherwise lead a life of spreading margarine on their bagels.

I set up a taste test for the two butters -- regular Lurpak (cow's milk butter) and the Meyenburg -- to see which tasted better in a very simple application: radishes with sea salt. The Lurpak tasted as it always does: thick, heavy, rich and redolent with the taste of fresh cream. The Meyenburg, on the other hand, paired much better with the peppery radishes. The sweet yet tangy taste of the goat butter was playful with the radishes, but tasted just as good on its own. That heaviness of the traditional butter wasn't there; it was simply light and fresh-tasting. To quote the friend who was conducting the butter experiment with me, "Where has this stuff been all my life?"

I'm eager to experiment with the goat butter in baking applications. Just as the addition of thin slices of pancetta and lard into chocolate chip cookies elevates them to the next level, I'm envisioning a tangy pound cake made with goat butter, topped with strawberry compote, or goat butter blondies. I might just wipe out the Meyenburg section at Phoenicia at this rate; luckily, the butter is also sold at places like Whole Foods, H-E-B and Randall's.

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