The Irish Black Butter Company opened for business in October 2017. Founder, Alastair Bell has a background in farming and took time out from this to explore the potential for an exciting new business.
Alistair Explained: “During the successful – 2016 Year of Food and Drink – in Northern Ireland I was inspired by the enthusiasm and drive of local producers taking great local produce to both home and overseas markets. That inspiration motivated me to launch ‘a new taste of Ireland’ which is Irish Black Butter.”
A combination of memories from bygone days spent in the serenity of the Garry Bog near Ballymoney cutting turf enjoying homemade scones or pancakes with apple jelly – and – time spent picking apples on the family farm were the seeds of inspiration for Alastair’s new venture.
Based at Portrush in County Antrim, Alastair teamed up with experienced chef Paul Clarke, the managing director of the award winning En Place Foods at Cookstown in County Tyrone to create the perfect recipe for the very first Irish Black Butter product.
Containing Armagh Bramley Apples, the butter isn’t a dairy product – it features cider, brandy, treacle and a blend of spices which conjure up a smooth cross between sweet and savoury.
The Armagh Bramley Apple is a great tasting apple that can be used in many ways just like Irish Black Butter. In many respects our local community could have many innovative products using local apples.
Influenced by the many exciting developments during the Year of Food and Drink in Northern Ireland, Alastair approached Paul Clarke at En Place Foods for advice on how to develop this apple-based product. Paul was tremendously supportive and helped to perfect both the ingredients and the recipe for the butter.
The ensuing Irish Black Butter has a delicious flavour, a rich warm aroma with a firm texture. It makes an ideal accompaniment for cheese and cold meats, for use as a glaze on ham, a spread on toast, soda farls or with scones and cream. Drawing together sweet and savoury tastes, this is a versatile product.
Paul Clarke, who has won a series of UK Great Taste Awards for innovative products including jams and sauces has said. “It’s great to see another original product developed using Armagh Bramley Apples, which have EU PGI status. Irish Black Butter is an outstandingly tasty and balanced product with nice acidity.”
Irish Black Butter is produced in 225g jars and 675g packs for food service.