"Butter, butter, give me butter, always butter."

"Butter, butter, give me butter, always butter." – Chef Fernand Point

In recent years, the world’s finest chefs have been paying unprecedented attention to the humblest of foods. In their hands, butter — simple, delicious butter — has moved out of the plastic ramekin and into the spotlightFlavored, sculpted or adorned with flowers, these butters are both works of art and tantalizing previews to the courses to come. Butter Journal celebrates this passion for the world’s favorite spread, and will serve as a guide to the most sumptuous and unique butter dishes restaurants have to offer.

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Why butter? Time and again, we’ve learned that first impressions matter. For restaurateurs, bread and butter are more than just a formality to offer diners while they wait for entrees. They are part of the culinary experience, an amuse bouche to excite the palate and introduce the restaurant. And the proof is on the plate: The butter served in top restaurants today is purer and more flavorful than anything you would have encountered five years ago and the presentations are more playful and inventive. Plus, butter is booming and American consumption is at its highest level in 40 years.

Butter, in short, is newly ascendant. The New York Times, NPR and Food & Wine have all featured stories in recent months on the popularity of butter. Vogue ran a multi-page spread on artisanal butters in April. And Williams-Sonoma and Etsy offer numerous do-it-yourself butter making kits. For the growing percentage of Americans who self-identify as “foodies,” butter is no longer a guilty treat — it is an artisanal and natural ingredient that enhances and enriches flavor. “Butter has become a symbol of America's growing appreciation of authentic cooking,” the Los Angeles Times wrote in January. Chefs are taking notice, and leading the way to butter’s revitalization.

This is butter’s cultural moment — and Butter Journal will capture that spirit.