I love how butter adds a creamy, fatty nuance to food. Take the humble dinner roll, for example; fine on its own, yet its enjoyability goes up several notches when good butter is introduced. Butter can ultimately elevate food, binding food molecules such as fat, water, and acid into a single gratifying component. Yet, despite understanding how quality butter is essential to gastronomy, most of us often settle for store-bought butter.
Sure, there's nothing wrong with off-the-shelf butter. I buy them too. With that being said, whenever I acquire a finely made loaf, I ideally want the butter I'm using to be on the same playing field quality-wise. This is why I found Butter Me Up's offerings so intriguing, a new homemade small-batch butter brand available at RM20 per 100g tube.
This new artisanal homemade butter brand, created and run by Ziling Lim, emphasises quality. All of her products are made from freshly churning butter from European cream and a melange of top-notch ingredients. Hand-packed in plastic-free packaging, her butter is named after cheeky twists on pop songs. She tells me that the current chart-toppers are flavours such as Hit Me Bacon One More Time, Thyme After Time, and Every Kombu In The World.
Ziling, a watch industry veteran, surprised me when she turned her sights to making butter during last year's initial lockdown frenzy. It wasn't until later, when I started Chew On This did I get the chance to speak to her for an article. So, what spurred her to create a new business venture in the ever-challenging world of food during a global pandemic? Let's find out.
TC: Why artisanal, handcrafted butter? Was there an Ah-Ha! moment when you were thinking of starting your own business, or was it something you just loved doing?
ZL: Actually, it was an Ah-Ha moment. During the first MCO lockdown in 2020, I wasn't working. It was extremely tough to get a new job because most businesses were suffering. So, I figured I needed a Plan B, which would pay the bills and keep me busy. I have always been in the watchmaking industry, hence my penchant for handcrafted, artisanal, unique items. If I were to produce something, it would follow that ethos. Making handmade butter was actually an idea by a close friend of mine. I put my whole head and heart into it, and that was how Butter Me Up was born.
TC: It’s almost been a year since you started Butter Me Up! How has the experience been like for you?
ZL: It was something very unexpected because I have always been so career-driven and busy. I held a regional role and was flying almost every week before all this happened. Having said that, it was probably a blessing in disguise because it helped to reevaluate my priorities and choices in life. Butter Me Up is a different kind of busy. I had to answer: all requests/enquiries, arrange for pick-ups and deliveries, and make the butter and package them myself. For the first time in my life, I discovered that I can be very creative by coming out with new flavours!
TC: Name one thing new you learned about butter thanks to your venture.
ZL: The unlimited type of dishes that you can do with butter! I don't really cook much and the only way I would consume butter was with bread, corn on the cob, or use it to base steak before starting Butter Me Up. Now, I have learned that you can cook pasta, bake seafood, grill chicken, create chickpea dishes, and make buttered rice. It's fun to discover how different kinds of butter will bring those dishes to a whole new level!
TC: What would you say are the defining features of high-quality butter?
ZL: Ingredients, ingredients, and ingredients.
TC: What does high-quality butter have over your regular store-bought butter?
ZL: Regular store-bought butter is usually produced commercially in big batches. It may contain preservatives for it to have a long shelf life. Also, most store-bought butter, especially flavoured ones, only offer minimal choices. Butter from Butter Me Up is produced in small batches and is available in many exciting flavours!
TC: One of your signatures has bacon in it, love it! Do you label the rest of your offerings as halal/pork-free?
ZL: To be frank, they are not halal because there are stringent regulations for getting my products halal certified. Besides the bacon butter, everything else is pork-free.
Butter Me Up's current range:
Hit Me Bacon One More Time – Bacon, Secret Sauce
Thyme After Time – Garlic, Thyme, Fresh Herbs
Every Kombu In The World – Smoked Kombu, Seaweed Call Me Maple? – Maple Syrup, Pineapple Jam Breakfast At Melaka – Salted Gula Melaka Spice Up Your Life – Lemon, Chilli, Dill
To place an order, head over to the business' Instagram page and send them a message!