I am awaiting delivery of an 18th C sterling silver round butter dish and was extremely pleased to find this treasure since French silver from the late 1700’s is hard to find. I spent some time this week looking at other butter dishes or tubs for sale online. Intrigued with the variety I saw the decision was made to add more to my shop. Butter dishes range from sterling silver with ornate details to hand painted pottery. There is something for everyone. Needless to say; butter has been on my mind this week.
Antoine Vollon, Mound of Butter (Motte de Beurre), 1875–85 National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Here are a few facts about butter. Trivia game anyone?
In the past butter was made or sold in a one-pound round shapes normally 4" in diameter. Round butter dishes or tubs held the whole piece. Some tubs also had racks that were inserted in the bottom of the dish while ice was placed below them and some were made with slots to hold a butter spreader. Other shapes such as figural scallop shells were also popular and are highly collectable today.
Once butter was made by machine the shape changed to sticks. This is the shape we are familiar with today. Butter dishes changed to accommodate the shape and became long and narrow. There are butter devotees who still love the round shape and there are many economical dishes on the market to fill that need. The rare and unusual butter dishes made of sterling silver will always command high prices due to the limited number of quality pieces.
Did you know Butter has been around for 9,000 years?
“With enough butter, anything is good.” Julia Child. According to PBS Miss Julia used 753 pounds of butter on her show that ran from 1969 to 1999.
“Without butter, without eggs... there is no reason to come to France.” Paul Bocuse. I am not sure how the Minister of French Tourism feels about that statement… but Mr. Bocuse was passionate about his butter. Monsieur Bocuse held a record breaking 3-star Michelin rating for one of his restaurants for over 55 years.
Chef Thomas Keller buys butter from Vermont that costs between $50-$60 to buy…..if you can get it. Mr. Keller serves it at his restaurants including the French Laundry....think butter poached lobster. It is made in Vermont by Diane St. Clair. She basically handles every aspect of her business from milking to making the butter. Diane's butter and Chef Keller fine command of ingredients equal "a match made in heaven".
Butter was so important to the Irish economy that merchants opened a Butter Exchange in Cork to help regulate the trade.
It takes 10 US pints of milk to make 1/2 pound of butter.
A third of the world's milk production is used to make butter.
Pass the butter please….
Below are pictures of fine examples of sterling silver butter dishes and the final two pictures are butter dishes listed in my shop.
I have two butter dishes available at this time;